Transfer Glossary

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2+2 or 3+1 Program

A program offering an associate’s degree that will transfer directly toward a bachelor’s degree in the same field of study. These programs may be within the same college, between two colleges, or between a college and university.


Academic Advising

A meeting between a student and an academic advisor to discuss educational issues such as courses required, transfer of courses into or out of the institution, or course selection prior to registration.

Academic Standing

College standards that students must maintain, such as a certain grade point average, in order to remain in good standing with the college or university.


Certification that a college, university or specific program meets a set of criteria established by their accrediting agency. Mid is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Technical and specialized programs may be accredited by specialized accrediting bodies. Colleges usually must be accredited for their students to receive financial aid. The type of accreditation can impact the transfer of credits.


The ACT® Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 30-minute Writing Test. ACT® results are accepted by all 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S.

Add/Drop Period

Refers to a period of time at the beginning of a semester where students can make changes in registration to enroll (add) or stop enrollment (drop) course(s). There is typically a refund schedule that applies during this time that is usually published in the course schedule.

Advanced Placement (AP®)

Courses offered in high school and exams that cover the material taught in AP® courses. Students who pass the AP® Exam with a minimum score can have credit awarded at colleges and universities according to institutional policies.


A designated individual who has been trained to assist students with academic information that will enable them to enroll in courses related to their academic goals and utilize student services. They may also be able to assist students with course transfer evaluation and help students transfer in or out of the institution.

Articulation Agreement

A formal agreement between two or more educational entities to accept credits in transfer toward a specific academic program. Articulation agreements are typically for technical, scientific or career-oriented programs, and involve the transfer of one completed program to another program. Transfer often occurs without articulation agreements.

Assessment Test

Assessment is a way of evaluating students’ present skills, such as in English, reading and math so students are placed into appropriate level courses. Assessment is based on placement test scores that are used as a guide for proper course placement to maximize student success. Also called Placement Test.

Associate Degree

A degree traditionally awarded by community or technical college after completion of at least 60-64 semester credit hours of specified course work. There are different types of associate degrees with varying transferability. Some universities may also award associate degrees.


Baccalaureate or Bachelor Degree

The degree granted by a college or university upon completion of a minimum 120 semester credit hours and incorporating general education, major requirements and, as appropriate, a minor.


Career Programs

Programs designed to lead directly to employment or career advancement, usually in a specialized field.


A document for a specific college or university containing course descriptions, program and general education requirements, college policies, procedures and standards, and student rights and responsibilities. Catalogs are usually revised and reprinted every one or two years. Catalogs are usually available online.

Catalog Year

The catalog in effect at the time the student begins attending a college or university. If the student maintains continuous enrollment, the student may choose to follow the program requirements in effect for that catalog or any subsequent catalog.

College-Level Examination Program ® or CLEP ®

The College-Level Examination Program ® or CLEP ® provides students of any age with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through exams in undergraduate college courses.

Competitive/Selective Admissions

An admission policy where a college or university only admits students who meet stringent requirements.

Contact Hours

The total hours of class and lab required per week in a course.


A course which may be taken during the same term as another course or previous to another course.

Course Load

The number of credits a student is enrolled in during a term. For Federal or other purposes, a full-time course load is defined as 12 credits (semesters). For state grant purposes, a full-time course load at Mid is defined as 12 credits (semesters).

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit awarded to a student who demonstrates knowledge and/or proficiency in a subject through an exam or evaluation of a portfolio.

Credit Transfer

The acknowledgement by a college or university of student credit earned at a different institution or by exam.


A coherent set of instructional experiences designed to achieve desired student learning outcomes. Curriculum may refer to a program, a major, an instructional unit, the general education component, or the entirety of offerings of a college or university.



The highest officer of an academic division of study or student services area.


An academic award conferred to a student after finishing a program of study at a college or university such as an Associate of Arts (AA) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. The degree indicates the student’s successful completion of requirements for a particular program of study.

Degree Audit

A document that indicates a student’s progress toward completing program requirements. A degree audit may include additional information such as the student’s academic status, test scores, proficiencies completed, transfer work, appeals, etc.

Degree Requirements

Requirements a student must complete successfully before he/she completes a degree.

Developmental Courses

Courses that prepare students for entry into college level courses. Developmental level course credits are not college level and do not apply toward a certificate, diploma, or degree or transfer.

Dual Enrollment

When colleges enroll high achieving high school students in college courses which may fulfill both high school and college graduation requirements. Students need permission from the high school principal or guidance counselor and admission to a college or university


EDP (Educational Development Plan)

A set of steps and planned course work to be followed over a period of time to obtain education or training to get a desired job.


A course a student chooses to take that is not required in their major field of study, but may be used for credit toward program requirements. There can be restricted electives and unrestricted electives.


The comparison of courses at one college or university to courses at another college or university. The course is considered equivalent when a minimum percentage (usually 75%-80%) of the content or learning outcomes overlap. Courses with the same or similar title are not necessarily equivalent. Course equivalencies don’t necessarily go both ways.



Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This federal law protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

A form students applying for financial assistance are required to complete in order to determine eligibility for financial aid. It is free of charge. This form can be found on the web: Students must file their application for the year they plan to attend a college or university.

Full-time Student

A student who carries a minimum number of credits or hours to be considered “full-time” by a college. The number of credits considered to be a full-time load can vary from college to college and for various purposes. A full-time course load at Mid is 12 or more semester credit hours.


General Education

A variety of classes in different academic areas, usually in the liberal arts. For example a certain number of courses in sciences, communications, math, humanities, and social sciences may be required.

Grade Point

The numerical value of a grade multiplied by the credit hours for a course (A=4 points; B=3 points; C=2 points; D=1 point; F=0 points). If, for example, a student earned an A in English 101 (3 credit hours), then the student earned 12 grade points: A=4 points x 3 (credit hours) = 12 grade points.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The average of a student’s grades. The term “GPA” is an average of grade points earned during that term. Cumulative GPA is an average of all grade points earned in a certain degree program or at a certain college or university. Grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credit hours attempted. For example, 45 grade points divided by 15 credit hours = 3.0 GPA.


Independent Study

Study or research independent of an offered course, but supervised and graded by a faculty member. A college or university may offer independent study courses.


Course credit given to students who work at jobs on or off campus that gives them practical experience in their major. Internships may or may not be paid.


Learning Outcomes

Specific indicators for what a student should learn as a result of taking a course.

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Include disciplines in the humanities, mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences.


Master Promissory Note

A binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. The MPN can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years). It lists the terms and conditions under which you agree to repay the loan and explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. It’s important to read and save your MPN because you’ll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about provisions of the loan, such as deferments or forbearances.


Based on a student's skill or ability. Example: A merit-based scholarship might be awarded based on a student's high grades.


National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

A centralized database, available at, which stores information on federal grants and loans. NSLDS contains information on how much aid you've received, your enrollment status, and your loan servicer(s). You can access NSLDS using your Federal Student Aid PIN.


Based on a student's financial need. Example: A need-based grant might be awarded based on a student's low income.

Net Price

An estimate of the actual cost that a student and his family need to pay in a given year to cover education expenses for the student to attend a particular school. Net price is determined by taking the institution's cost of attendance and subtracting any grants and scholarships for which the student may be eligible.

Net Price Calculator

A tool that allows current and prospective students, families, and other consumers to estimate the net price of attending a particular college or career school.


Out-of-state Student

A student who is attending a college or career school outside of his or her state of legal residence.


Partial Financial Hardship

A circumstance in which the annual amount due on your eligible loans, as calculated under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, exceeds 15 percent of the difference between your adjusted gross income (AGI) and 150 percent of the poverty line for your family size in the state where you live.


A loan available to graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status.

Postbaccalaureate Teacher Certification Program

A program for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree that (1) does not lead to a graduate degree, (2) is treated as an undergraduate program, and (3) consists of courses required by a state in order for the student to receive a certification or license to teach in an elementary or secondary school in that state.


The total sum of money borrowed. This includes the original amount borrowed plus any interest that has been capitalized.

Principal Balance

The amount of money owed on a loan.

Private Loan

A nonfederal loan made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, state agency, or school.

Promissory Note

The binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. It lists the terms and conditions under which you agree to repay the loan and explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. It’s important to read and save this document because you’ll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about provisions of the loan, such as deferments or forbearances.

Proprietary School

A private for-profit school that provides education and training.


Regular Student

A student who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized education credential offered by that institution. To be eligible for federal student aid, you must generally be a regular student.

Retention Rate

Measures the percentage of first-time students who are seeking bachelor's degrees who return to the institution to continue their studies the following fall.

Room and Board

An allowance for the cost of housing and food while attending college or career school.


Satisfactory Academic Progress

A school’s standards for satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate offered by that institution.

Scheduled Award

The maximum grant amount you are eligible to receive for the award year if you are enrolled full-time for the full school year. This amount is calculated from the information you (and your family) provided when you filed your FAFSA.


Money awarded to students based on academic or other achievements to help pay for education expenses. Scholarships generally do not have to be repaid.

Service Obligation

The requirement by TEACH Grant recipients to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students. As a TEACH Grant recipient, you must teach for at least four academic years within eight calendar years of completing the program of study for which you received a TEACH Grant. If you fail to complete this commitment, the TEACH Grant that you received will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

Standardized Test

A test that is designed to assess individuals against a common standard.

State Aid

Financial aid from a student's state of legal residence.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

A summary of the information you submitted on your FAFSA. You receive this report (often called the SAR) via e-mail a few days after your FAFSA has been processed or by mail within 7-10 days if you did not provide an e-mail address. If there are no corrections or additional information you must provide, the SAR will contain your EFC, which is the number that's used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

Subsidized Loan

A loan based on financial need for which the federal government pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is in an in-school, grace, or deferment status.


Tax Offset

A debt collection tool that allows the government to seize income tax refunds from individuals who owe the federal government to help repay the outstanding debt.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

A federal grant that provides up to $4,000 per year to students who agree to teach for four years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families and to meet other requirements. If the service obligation is not met, the grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

Transfer Rate

The percentage of the full-time, first-time students who transferred to another institution.


Program outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities in progressing through the academic pipeline from middle school to postgraduate programs.


Unsubsidized Loan

A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan.


William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

The federal program that provides loans to eligible student and parent borrowers under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Funds are provided by the federal government to eligible borrowers through participating schools.


A federal student aid program that provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses.

*all data was gathered with permission from the Office of the U.S. Department of Education: Federal Student Aid Website: For additional details visit:

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