• Accreditation

    Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards required for its students to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure institutions of higher education meet acceptable levels of quality.



    The purpose of ACCUPLACER tests is to provide you with useful information about your academic skills in math, English, and reading. The results of the assessment, in conjunction with your academic background, goals, and interests, are used by academic advisors to determine your course selection. You cannot pass or fail the placement tests, but it is very important that you do your very best on these tests so that you will have an accurate measure of your academic skills.

  • ACT Aspire

    (formerly called pre-ACT, ACT Plan, or ACT Explore)
    An online testing system for students in grades 3-8 as well as early high school that includes English, math, reading, science, and writing content. The assessment is used to highlight progress towards ACT College Readiness Standards and Benchmarks and is aligned to what students are learning in school.

  • Admissions & Scholarship Index

    Admissions and scholarship decisions can be based on an index of GPA and ACT scores at some of our institutions of higher education. The score may also be used for placement. For more information, please contact the institutions of your choice to determine if this is applicable.


  • Advanced Placement Program (AP)

    A service of the College Board that provides high schools with course descriptions in college subjects and Advanced Placement Examinations in those subjects. High schools teach the courses and give the examinations to interested students. Those who pass the exams are eligible for advanced placement, college credit, or both.

  • Associate of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.)

    Two-year programs that provide broader knowledge in fields ranging from Biomanufacturing and Computer Information Systems to Dental Hygiene and Digital Media. The in-depth knowledge and skills acquired in an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree prepare students for employment in a career track with advancement opportunities.

  • Associate Degree (A.A., A.S.)

    Two-year programs that provide the academic foundation for transfer to a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Associate of Arts (A.A.) degrees and Associate of Science (A.S.) programs cover the curriculum taught in the first two years of a four-year program of study.


  • Bachelor's Degree/Baccalaureate (B.A., B.S.)

    Four-year programs that provide in-depth, specialized knowledge in a major or field of study. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees prepare students for employment in fields from Accounting to Theatre or for further studies. Your major will be what your B.A. or B.S. is in; for example, if you are an English major, you will graduate with a B.A. in English.

  • Certificate

    Generally one-year programs that lead directly to entry-level employment in a specific occupation such as aviation pilot, diesel mechanic, or respiratory therapist.

  • Community College

    A two-year college that serves the residents of a local or regional area. Most of these colleges admit all or most of the students who apply. Some programs, such as nursing, may be more selective. Students receive an associate degree after two years of successful full-time study. Additionally, many technical programs of study are taught at these colleges. Many students who enter general education programs (equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program) transfer to a four-year college or university.


  • Concurrent Enrollment/Dual Enrollment (CE, DE)

    The concurrent enrollment/dual enrollment program makes college courses available to eligible high school students during their junior and senior years. Students earn both high school credit and regular college credit, which is recorded on a college transcript.


  • Credit Hour

    A unit used to measure the amount of school work a student has enrolled in or completed. In a credit hour system, each course is assigned a specific number of credit hours. This number is usually based on the number of classroom meetings per week. Thus, a course that meets for one hour every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is a three-credit-hour course.


    The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is a federal privacy law that gives parents and students certain protections with regard to their children’s education records, such as report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, contact and family information, and class schedules. Parents have the right to review their child’s education records and to request changes under limited circumstances. To protect a child’s privacy, the law generally requires schools to ask for written consent before disclosing their personally identifiable information to individuals other than the child. When a student turns 18 years old or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to the parents under FERPA transfer to the student (“eligible student”). However, FERPA provides ways in which a school may – but is not required to – share information from an eligible student’s education records with parents without the student’s consent.

  • Financial Aid

    Money awarded to students to help them pay for education. Aid is given as loans, grants, scholarships, or work-study awards. Some forms of financial aid are required to be repaid after graduation.



    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a free financial aid application form used by nearly every school to determine eligibility for financial aid. Applications are accepted after January 1. Early application is strongly encouraged. Students should apply during their senior year. Visit www.FAFSA.gov.


  • Grant

    A form of financial aid that does not have to be repaid or earned by working. Grants are usually based on financial need; however, academic merit may also be considered.


  • International Baccalaureate (IB)

    A program offered in some schools that provides academically challenging courses. IB students take courses in six subjects and complete a “core” that includes community service and an extended essay. High schools teach the courses, but the broad curriculum is provided by International Baccalaureate and students around the world take the same final exams. Courses can last one or two years, and a passing grade on the final exams or the attainment of an IB diploma can make a student eligible for college credit, advanced placement in college classes, or other benefits.

  • Higher Education/Postsecondary Education

    A term that refers to colleges, universities, and any education beyond high school that leads to a certificate or a college degree.


  • Loan

    A loan is money you borrow and must pay back sometimes with interest. Subsidized loans, mentioned later, do not require the borrower to repay the interest.


  • Merit-Based Aid

    Financial aid that is dependent on academic, artistic, athletic, or other merit. This type of aid does not require demonstration of financial need.


  • Need-Based Aid

    Financial aid that is dependent on demonstration of financial need. Most sources of financial aid that are provided by the government are need-based.


  • Open Admissions

    The college admissions policy of admitting virtually all applicants with high school diplomas or an equivalent. Conventional academic qualifications, such as high school subjects taken, high school grades, and admissions test scores, are not used to limit enrollment but can affect placement.


  • Pell Grant

    Money awarded directly to students by the federal government. Only undergraduate students may receive federal Pell Grants. To apply for a federal Pell Grant and other federal financial aid, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.FAFSA.gov.

  • PSAT

    The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It’s a standardized test that provides first-hand practice for the SAT. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access and career planning tools.

  • Rolling Admissions

    An admissions procedure by which the college evaluates applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applicants are screened as soon as they submit all application materials. The college may consider applications on a weekly or monthly schedule. Applicants receive a notice of the decision a short time after applying.

  • Scholarship

    A form of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Scholarships usually refer to awards based on academic merit; however, scholarships are also awarded for performing community service, leadership, athletic ability, talent, etc. Financial need may or may not be be required.


  • SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

    The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test that lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge. It tests your knowledge of reading, writing, and math—subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior years of high school. Colleges and universities require students to take this test or the ACT prior to applying for admission.


  • Semester

    An academic calendar period of approximately 16-18 weeks that makes up half of the usual academic year for schools that use this calendar system.


  • Subsidized Loan

    A need-based loan, such as a Direct Subsidized Stafford. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans during the borrower’s in-school, grace, and deferment periods.


  • Technical College

    A college that prepares technical-skilled workers in specific occupations that generally do not require an associate or more advanced degree. Technical college students can earn in a few months to a little more than a year certificates that prepare them directly for employment. Most technical college programs admit all who apply.


  • Transcript

    An official copy of a student’s educational record.

  • Tuition

    The charge for attending a college or university class.


  • University

    An institution of higher learning that traditionally offers both undergraduate (associate and bachelor’s) and graduate (master’s and doctoral) programs. Universities vary considerably in programs offered and in size. Compared to colleges, universities are usually larger, offer more courses and majors, and have more research facilities. Universities may be divided into a number of “colleges,” such as the College of Education or the College of Business. Each college has several departments, and offers different majors.


  • Work Study

    A federally funded part-time employment program for undergraduate and graduate students. Eligibility is based on financial need. The earnings help students meet a portion of their educational expenses. The federal government subsidizes a portion of the student’s salary. This makes it cheaper for employers to hire students who have demonstrated financial need.