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Repayment of obligation that is sooner than originally contracted for.

Accrued Interest

Interest that is earned by the lender and payable by the borrower. Each day interest is calculated on the unpaid principal balance and becomes “accrued interest.”


The gradual repayment of a debt by periodic (usually monthly) installments of principal and interest.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The total cost of borrowing money expressed as an annual rate.


The transfer of the note to another eligible lender. The borrower’s responsibility and obligations do not change.


The addition of unpaid accrued interest applied to the principal balance of a loan which increases the total debt outstanding.


Combining two or more educational loans into a new loan with a new payment schedule and interest rate.

Cumulative debt limit

The maximum principal borrowing amount of all outstanding student loan debt allowed by lenders.

Daily Interest Credit

The method of calculating the rebate of precomputed interest. If prepayment is made, the interest charge (finance charge) will be reduced to the amount earned to the day of prepayment, also known as “actuarial method.”


The failure to repay a loan in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. Default occurs after 180 days of non-payment on an account.

Deferment Period

Under certain conditions, once the repayment period has begun, principal payments (and interest payments under some loan programs) are postponed during specified periods. The borrower must provide documentation to establish eligibility for a deferment when the deferment begins.


The borrower has failed to make an installment payment when due, or to meet other terms of the promissory note.

Demand Note

A promissory note that is payable (due in full) whenever the holder demands payment.


A transaction that occurs when a lender releases loan funds.

Due Diligence

The efforts and practices of a lender, in the making, servicing, and collection of loans, which are at least as extensive and forceful as those generally practiced by financial institutions for consumer loans.


Federal Direct Student Loan Program.

Federal Reserve Regulation

The truth-in-lending law that requires disclosure of finance charges and the annual percentage rate.

Financial Need

The difference between the student’s educational costs and the determined Student Contribution and Parent Resources (if applicable).


Permitting the temporary cessation of payments or accepting smaller payments than were previously scheduled. Forbearance is granted at the discretion of the lender except that it is mandatory for a lender to grant forbearance on Stafford and SLS loans to a physician still in residency.

Grace Period

A 6- or 9-month period before the borrower enters a repayment period. The grace period begins on the day the student ceases to be at least a half-time student at a participating school.


A state agency or private, nonprofit institution or organization which administers a student loan insurance program. The institution or organization guarantees repayment of student loans to private lenders in the event a borrower dies, becomes permanently and totally disabled, has a loan discharged in bankruptcy, or defaults.

Holder (Lender or Payee)

Harvard University, a bank, a credit union, etc.

Holder in Due Course (Bearer in Due Course)

A person or entity other than the original holder who holds a legally effective promissory note and has the right to collect from the borrower.


The inability to make payments.

Installment Note (Renewal Note)

A new note written to satisfy the terms of a previously signed demand note. The installment note specifies a repayment schedule.


The borrower.

The legal and binding contract signed between the lender and the borrower which states that the borrower will repay the loan as agreed upon in the terms of the contract.

Renewal Note

See Installment Note.

Sealed Instrument

In Massachusetts, a sealed instrument provides for fewer limitations on the lender’s ability to collect a note. It changes the statute of limitations for collections of a note from 6 to 20 years.


An organization that acts on behalf of the lender to administer their student loan portfolio and is paid a fee to do so.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

The form a student receives after filing a FAFSA application. The SAR notifies the student of his eligibility for federal student aid.

Unsubsidized Loan

A loan on which the student is responsible for paying the interest that accrues on the loan from the date of disbursement until the loan is paid in full, regardless of enrollment status.

Waives Presentment, Demand Notice, Protest and All Other Demands

The borrower cannot claim that payment is not due because the lender did not notify or bill him/her before the due date. It is the borrower’s responsibility to make payments when due, even if the lender has not sent a bill or coupon repayment book.