StudentAwards’ Financial Aid Glossary

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With more students pursuing post-secondary education each year, financial assistance has never been more in demand. The amount of information can be overwhelming, so make your search for financial aid easier by using this glossary of commonly used terms.

Apprenticeship

A program where the student works with a mentor in order to learn a specific trade.

Award

Something given to a person or group of people in recognition of excellence and achievement. Awards may come in the form of a trophy, title, certificate, medal, public acknowledgment, or a monetary prize.

Awards Administrator(s)

Individual or committee that manages the administration of the scholarship/award program. They are generally responsible for collecting and processing applications, judging, and award adjudication.

Bursary

A scholarship that is generally based on need as opposed to merit.

CEGEP

Stands for Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel or College of General and Vocational Education. In the province of Quebec, high schools generally offer education only up to grade 11. Most students then enter a CEGEP to continue their education, choosing either a general program to prepare for university or a vocational program to train for a specialized career.

College / Community College

A post-secondary institution that offers diplomas and certificates and, in some cases, degrees. Colleges tend to have smaller populations than universities and focus more on studies geared towards a specific vocation or career.

Contest

A competition in which applicants submit entries and the winners are chosen by a judge or panel. Some contests do not have judging criteria and the winners are selected through random selection.

Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) / Résumé

A document containing a summary or listing of relevant job experience, achievements, and education, usually for the purpose of seeking employment. Award administrators often request a C.V. or résumé to use as additional judging criteria.

Degree

A status level of academic achievement conferred by an institution of higher education (usually a university) as the result of the successful completion of a program of study. Types of degrees include:

  • Baccalaureate / Bachelor’s Degree: An undergraduate degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts for 3-4 years. It may also be used for graduate programs such as a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy.
  • Master’s Degree: Degree usually awarded for completion of a graduate or post-graduate program of 1-3 years in duration.
  • Ph.D. / Doctor of Philosophy: Graduate/post-graduate degree granted upon completion of extensive academic work in a field of study.
  • Professional Degree: Degree indicating a particular career or profession, such as law, medicine, engineering, religious ministry, or education. Professional degrees may be awarded as either graduate or undergraduate degrees.

Diploma / Certificate

Issued by an educational institution (most often at a college) upon successful completion of a particular course of study.

Fellowship

The financial grant made to a fellow in a college or university. A fellow is an individual that holds a temporary academic post and is involved with teaching and research at the school.

Financial Aid Office

Office at post-secondary schools in which students may obtain information and assistance on financial aid. It is often a branch located in the registrar’s office.

GPA (Grade Point Average)

The grading system used at most post-secondary schools. GPA is based on grade points and the number of credits earned. Each school uses a different system and values can range from 4.0 to 9.0.

Grant

Funds provided for a specific purpose; mostly associated with specialized research projects at the graduate and post-graduate levels.

Internship

A program that provides practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession. Positions may include monetary compensation, however, the emphasis is placed on work experience and the wage is generally lower than what a full-time employee would receive.

Line of Credit

A form of loan provided by financial institutions in which the borrower draws funds as needed, up to a specified maximum.

Loan

Borrowed money for temporary use, where the borrower pays back the lender at an agreed time and interest rate. Government student loans are due for full repayment (principal and interest) following graduation or once studies end.

Matriculate

To enroll in a college or university as a candidate for a degree. This term is often used by award administrators to describe students who have already completed some post-secondary school courses and are continuing their studies.

Post-secondary School

An educational institution where a student pays tuition to attend.

Scholarship

A sum of money or other aid granted to a student to pursue post-secondary studies. Scholarships may be based on a variety of criteria including academics, extracurricular activities, sports, financial need, geographic location, ethnic background, etc.

Trade School / Career College

A school that gives students the skills needed to perform a certain job such as massage therapy or office administration.

Transcript

A report supplied by a school on a student’s academic status, subjects, and grades. Post-secondary transcripts are available in unofficial and official formats. Official transcripts come with security measures such as watermarks and seals. Additionally, it is often required that the student pay a small fee to obtain a copy.

University

An institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels, in a variety of subjects.

University College

Educational Institutions that may not have full university status but teach at the degree level.