The amount of money a borrower owes to others.

Independent Student

A student who is either married, 24 years of age or older, enrolled in a graduate or professional education program, has legal dependents other than a spouse, is an orphan or ward of the court, or a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

In-School Deferment

A temporary postponement of payments during which the borrower is attending an approved school at least part-time (at least half-time for federal loans).


The fee charged to borrow money over time. Interest is generally disclosed and computed as an annual percentage of the principal amount owed.

Interest Subsidy

The federal government's payment of accrued interest on eligible federal loans during in-school and deferment periods. For subsidized Stafford Loans with a first disbursement prior to July 1, 2012, the federal government also pays the accrued interest during the 6 month grace period.

International Student

A student who is not a citizen or resident of the U.S. who plans to attend or is attending a U.S. college, university, or other post-secondary educational institution.