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Questions about College -- Acronyms & Abbreviations

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ACT - The name of a standardized college entrance exam and the name of the company that administers it.

ARTSYS - The name of the articulation system for transfer of credit in Maryland - you can use the search functions at, the ARTSYS site, to find out what courses from MD community colleges will transfer to MD 4-year colleges.

CSS/PROFILE or "CSS/Financial Aid Profile" CSS, or College Scholarship Service, is part of the College Board, a nonprofit organization that also administers the SAT.  CSS/Financial Aid Profile is a financial aid application service used by some colleges and private scholarship funds.

EFC - Expected Family Contribution (based on FAFSA data) - the amount of money families are expected to contribute toward the student's college bills.

FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a free application (online or paper) that parents must submit to the U.S. Department of Education if their son or daughter is to receive college financial assistance from PELL Grant awards, Maryland State financial assistance, student loans, and many other sources.

GED - General Educational Development - a credential earned by passing a multi-part examination.  This is one of three ways in Maryland to demonstrate the completion of a high school educational level.  (A high school diploma and a Maryland Adult External Diploma are the other two).

GPA - Grade Point Average - College grades are usually calculated on a scale of 0-4, with 0 = failing (E or F), 1 = D, 2 = C, 3 = B, 4 = A.  Plus and minus grades add or subtract a B- is a 2.7.  High school grades are either calculated this way or can be converted to this scale.

MHEC - Maryland Higher Education Commission - a State agency that coordinates postsecondary education (colleges, private career schools, etc.) and administers State financial assistance to students in colleges and career schools.

SAR - Student Aid Report - summarizes information from the FAFSA and tells families what their EFC is (see above).

SAT - The name of a standardized college entrance exam.  There are also SAT Subject Tests.


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