Financial Aid Glossary: 36 Terms You Should Know Before Culinary School

Ready to plan for your culinary education? Dive into our Financial Aid Glossary to understand 36 essential financial aid terms you should know.

The essential guide cover

Get the Financial Aid Guide for Culinary School

The first step towards seeing if you qualify for financial aid for culinary school is completing the FAFSA®. Follow this step-by-step guide and be on your way today!

Campus of Interest*
Program of Interest*

Clicking the "Get the Survey Now" button constitutes your express request, and your express written consent, to be contacted by and to receive automated or pre-recorded call, texts, messages and/or emails from via phone, text, and/or emails by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts at the number(s)/email you provided, regarding furthering your education and enrolling. You understand that these calls, texts, messages and/or emails may be generated using an automated or pre-recorded technology. You are not required to agree to receive automated or pre-recorded calls, texts, messages or emails as a condition of enrolling at Escoffier. You can unsubscribe at any time or request removal of street address, phone number, email address via Escoffier website.

May 11, 2023 7 min read

Let’s talk about creating a financial plan for culinary school. At first, the financial aid process might seem slightly intimidating, with myriad financial aid terms to digest. What’s the real difference between a “Direct PLUS Loan,” and a “Direct Subsidized Loan”? How does an income-based repayment plan really work…in simple terms?

To grasp the essential information you need to know, we’ve compiled a glossary so you can easily make sense of it all. Keep reading to understand the top financial aid terms that may help you plan for your future!

Table of Contents


Academic Year

An academic year is considered one full school year, completed at the same school. In the case of a “year-round” program, nine months is typically one complete academic year.

Aid for Military Family Service

For veterans, future military personnel, and active duty, the federal government and certain nonprofit organizations may offer funding benefits for college.


This is the addition of unpaid accrued interest to the outstanding balance of a loan, which could increase your monthly payment.

Cost of Attendance

The overall cost of attendance to attend school can usually include tuition, room, board, educational supplies, loan fees, and sometimes, other additional expenses.


When you fail to repay most federal loans as outlined in the terms of your promissory note, a loan will go into default. This usually transpires if you haven’t made a loan payment in 270 days, which could lead to legal ramifications.


Under special circumstances, loans may enter a deferment period, which is a temporary postponement. Usually, interest will not accrue on certain subsidized loans.

Direct Consolidation Loan

This type of loan replaces one or more existing federal education loans with one single loan—requiring one monthly payment.

Direct PLUS Loan

Usually two categories qualify for a Direct PLUS Loan: parents of dependent undergraduate students and graduate or professional students.

Direct Subsidized Loan

With a Direct Subsidized Loan, students are not responsible for paying interest while in school, grace, or deferment periods, and interest won’t accumulate while the student is in school either. This type of loan usually allows the borrower a “deferred grace period,” of six months after the last date of attendance or if a student falls below half time.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

With a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, the borrower must pay interest, which does accumulate while the student is in school, regardless of the status. This type of loan also allows the borrower a “deferred grace period,” of six months after the last date of attendance or if a student falls below half time.

Discretionary Income

Discretionary income may determine the borrower’s eligibility for specific repayment plans and/or loan rehabilitation. This type of calculation examines the borrower’s annual income, plus a percentage of the poverty guidelines for the borrower’s family size and state of residence.

Eligible Program

This type of organized instruction or study usually leads to an academic, professional, vocational certificate, or other recognized education credential.


If a Direct PLUS Loan borrower suddenly becomes unable to make payments on a loan, the endorser or loan co-signer is someone who agrees to pay the loan.


Federal Pell Grant Program

This is the largest federal grant program, specifically for undergraduates from low-income households. Usually, it doesn’t need to be repaid, unless a student withdraws and owes a refund.

Federal Student Aid

This type of student aid is a culmination of grants, loans, and work-study programs designed to help students pay for college or career school from the government.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

This opportunity grant is available for undergraduate students who demonstrate a financial need—usually ranging from $100 to $4,000. This usually doesn’t need to be repaid.

Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program

The FWS program offers part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need. This type of program is facilitated through your school’s financial aid office, which can help you secure a qualified opportunity. This is typically completed through a school, nonprofit organization, or private company.


Forbearance is a period of time that allows you to temporarily reduce monthly payments or stop them entirely. While this period might be necessary under certain circumstances, interest does continue to accrue during forbearance periods.

Graduated Repayment Plan

This specific plan begins with lower monthly payments that increase every two years (usually with your earned income). Generally, you have 10 years to pay everything off or, up to 30 years, if you apply for a consolidated loan. If you are unable to repay in that time frame, you may contact the Department of Education to discuss possible solutions.


A grant is a monetary gift for those obtaining a higher education and is usually based on financial need. Usually, it doesn’t need to be repaid, unless you withdraw from a program early.


Interest is an expense charged from borrowing money and is usually paid to a lender. Usually, this is a percentage of the unpaid principal loan.


A lender is an organization that allows students to borrow funds—such as a school, credit union, or bank.

Loan Discharge

Under loan discharge, borrowers no longer need to repay a loan under certain circumstances such as death, disability, fraud, bankruptcy, and identity theft.

Loan Forgiveness

Under loan forgiveness, a student loan may be fully or partially forgiven for a specific amount of years at a qualified job.


Master Promissory Note (MPN)

A Master Promissory Note is a master legal document that defines the terms of your loan. It entails the borrower’s rights and repayment obligations.


Merit-based scholarships or funds are usually awarded based on a student’s grades or skill set.

PLUS Credit Counseling

PLUS credit counseling offers 1:1 guidance to graduate/professional students and parents—specifically around taking on student loan debt and borrowing a PLUS loan.


Principal is the amount of money borrowed or that’s remaining on a loan, on which interest is paid.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

After you’ve made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualified repayment plan, The PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans. You must be working full-time for a qualifying employer.


Rehabilitated Loan

This is one method to get your student loan out of default mode. You must contact your loan holder to begin this process.

Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Program

This type of repayment plan usually involves monthly payments that equate to 10% of your discretionary income.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Each school usually instills a “tracking process” to ensure students will graduate in their respective programs “on time.” On top of this, usually students are required to maintain a certain level of academic progress to remain eligible for federal student aid.


Scholarships are academic-based gifts that support students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree and don’t need to be repaid. These types of rewards usually span a variety of categories, including merit, academic, need, and diversity.

Student Loan Debt Burden

This is usually a specific percentage of a borrower’s monthly income that is allocated toward student loan payments.

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge

This type of discharge relieves borrowers from repaying federal student loan(s) and/or completing the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant service obligation.

Unsubsidized Loan

This type of loan offers students a low, fixed interest rate and various repayment options, which are not based on financial need.

Get a Financial Aid Plan in Place

Ready to take the next step toward your culinary career goals, but need to get a financial aid plan in place? Contact us today and allow our team to help guide your financial decisions when it comes to culinary school!

Did you find this article helpful? Try these next:

*Consider your situation and resources to determine what is affordable and on budget, for you.

Subscribe to the King of Chefs Blog

Subscribe to the King of Chefs Blog

Get the King of Chefs email newsletter delivered to your inbox weekly. You'll get everything you need to know about culinary & pastry careers, food entrepreneurship, financing your culinary education, and more.