As you make your way through the Hathaway Scholarship world, here are some of the common terms you may encounter.  

529 College Savings Plan

These state-sponsored college savings plans were established by the federal government in Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code to encourage families to save more for college. They offer unique state and federal tax benefits you can’t get from other ways to save, making them one of the best ways to save for college.

American College Test (ACT)

One of the two national standardized college entrance examinations used in the US. The other is the SAT. The ACT is widely used in the West and Midwest. Most universities require either the ACT or the SAT as part of an application for admission.

Associate’s Degree

The degree granted by two-year colleges (such as the community colleges in Wyoming).

Bachelor’s Degree

The undergraduate degree granted by four-year colleges and universities (such as University of Wyoming).

Cost of Attendance (COA)

(Also known as the cost of education or “budget”) The total amount it should cost the student to go to school, including tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books and supplies, transportation, and personal and incidental expenses. Loan fees, if applicable, may also be included in the COA. Child care and expenses for disabilities may also be included at the discretion of the financial aid administrator. Schools establish different standard budget amounts for students living on-campus and off-campus, married and unmarried students and in-state and out-of-state students.

Direct Loan Program

A federal program through which the U.S. Department of Education offers four types of student loans: subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), and Federal Consolidation Loans.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The amount a family can reasonably be expected to pay for a student’s education, calculated by the Central Processing System based on the information contained on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a federal need-analysis formula.

Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP)

The funds for these loans are provided by the US government directly to students and their parents through their schools. Benefits of the program include a faster turn-around time and less bureaucracy than the old “bank loan” program. The FDSLP includes the Federal Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) and the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).

Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP)

FFELP is one of two parallel federal education loan programs. The other is the Direct Loan program. Both offer the same sets of loans (e.g., Stafford, PLUS and Consolidation loans) with only slight differences. The main difference is in the source of funds. In the FFEL program the funds normally come from private capital such as banks, credit unions and other financial institutions, while in the Direct Loan program the funds come from the US Treasury through the US Department of Education. The federal government guarantees FFELP loans against borrower default and ensures that the lenders receive a market rate of return on the loans despite the lower interest rates paid by borrowers of education loans.

Financial Aid

Money provided to the student and the family to help them pay for the student’s education or which is conditioned on the student’s attendance at an educational institution. Major forms of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and work).

Financial Aid Office (FAO or SFA, for Student Financial Aid)

The college or university office that is responsible for the determination of financial need and the awarding of financial aid. For UW’s office, see

Financial Need

The difference between a student’s total cost of attendance, the expected family contribution, and any student financial assistance the student will receive. A student must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for need-based financial assistance/aid programs.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The standard form students must complete to apply for federal and state need-based assistance/aid programs and, in some circumstances, campus-based assistance/aid.


A type of financial aid based on financial need that the student does not have to repay.

Hathaway Scholarship

A scholarship provided by the state for Wyoming students to attend college in Wyoming at the University or community colleges. Amounts are based on students’ grades, test scores, and the classes they take.


A type of financial aid which must be repaid, with interest. The federal student loan programs (FFELP and FDSLP) are a good method of financing the costs of your college education. These loans are better than most consumer loans because they have lower interest rates and do not require a credit check or collateral. The Stafford Loans and Perkins Loans also provide a variety of deferment options and extended repayment terms.


Financial aid that is merit-based depends on your academic, artistic or athletic merit or some other criteria, and does not depend on the existence of financial need. Merit-based awards use your grades, test scores, hobbies and special talents to determine your eligibility for scholarships.


Financial aid that is need-based depends on your financial situation. Most government sources of financial aid are need-based.



A standardized college admissions test intended to assess a student’s readiness for college. The length of the test is 3 hours and 45 minutes and scores range from a low of 600 to a high of 2400, combining results from three 800-point sections (Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing). If you plan on taking the SAT, visit for upcoming test dates, important registration information, and helpful study planning guidelines and links to a wide variety of free and low-cost practice resources.


A form of financial aid given to undergraduate students to help pay for their education. Most scholarships are restricted to paying all or part of tuition expenses, though some scholarships also cover room and board. Scholarships are a form of gift aid and do not have to be repaid. Many scholarships are restricted to students in specific courses of study or with academic, athletic or artistic talent. Link to Scholarship Help

Stafford Loans

Federal loans that come in two forms, subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are based on need; unsubsidized loans aren’t. The interest on the subsidized Stafford Loan is paid by the federal government while the student is in school and during the 6 month grace period.

Subsidized Loan

With a subsidized loan, such as the Perkins Loan or the Subsidized Stafford Loan, the government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in school, during the six-month grace period and during any deferment periods. Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need and may not be used to finance the family contribution.

Unsubsidized Loan

A loan for which the government does not pay the interest. The borrower is responsible for the interest on an unsubsidized loan from the date the loan is disbursed, even while the student is still in school. Students may avoid paying the interest while they are in school by capitalizing the interest, which increases the loan amount. Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and may be used to finance the family contribution.


Questions about the Hathaway Scholarship?

Contact the Hathaway Scholarship Program or your school counselor today.