Glossary

Click one of the letters above to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.

A

Academic year

ACC’s academic year runs from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31.

ACC Emergency Alert

The mass notification system that communicates official information during an emergency or crisis that disrupts normal operation of an ACC campus, or threatens the health and safety of members of the campus community.

Synonyms: Emergency Alert

ACC Foundation

Founded in 1991, the ACC Foundation raises funds and provides scholarships specifically for ACC students. The foundation is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization. Gifts made through the ACC Foundation are deductible for federal income, gift, and estate tax purposes.

ACC OneCard

A debit card used to electronically disburse both financial aid and other refunds from the college. It is NOT a credit card. If you are a new ACC student, you will receive an ACC OneCard in the mail after you register for college credit classes for the first time. Along with the card you will receive instructions on how to use it to notify ACC of your refund preference. It is vital to maintain current address information with the college to insure receiving your card and your funds.

ACC scholarship

Scholarships administered by the ACC Foundation specifically for ACC students.

Synonyms: ACC Foundation scholarship

Accreditation

Accreditation is certification that the college has met established standards and is nationally recognized by appropriate accrediting agencies. ACC’s major accrediting agency is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges.

Add-Drops

the period at the beginning of a term when most students can sign up for new classes and/or drop classes they were registered for.  Also called schedule changes.

Advisor

An advisor is a staff or faculty representative who helps students select classes and plan educational programs.

Articulation agreement

An articulation agreement is an official agreement between ACC and a four-year institution that designates the transferability of specific courses and/or degrees.

Assessment

An assessment is the evaluation of a specific knowledge or skill such as reading, writing, and math, in order to in course placement.

Associate degree

An associate degree is a college degree consisting of a minimum of 60 credits that includes core curriculum requirements, major classes, and electives.

Audit

A type of registration in which a student attends a class without receiving credit for the class. Audited classes do not count toward degree requirements.

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B

Blackboard

Blackboard is a web-based classroom system that allows students to check grades, submit assignments, and communicate with instructors and other classmates.

Blue book

A blue book is a small booklet (with a blue cover) required by some professors for answering test questions. It is sold in college bookstores.

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C

Catalog

An annual publication for students that provides information on degree requirements, course descriptions, and academic policies.

Catalog in effect

Catalog in effect refers to the college catalog governing the year the student begins studies at ACC. The students’ degree plan and other academic requirements are governed by this catalog unless they opt to follow a later catalog. The catalog governing the time of a student’s initial enrollment at ACC. Its graduation requirements can be followed for the five academic years that the catalog is valid.

Census date

Date on which ACC certifies student enrollment for financial aid recipients and to the state for formal funding. Classes dropped before the census date do not appear on student transcripts. Also called official reporting date.

Certificate

A college credential awarded to students who complete a defined program of study in a workforce area. Certificates typically apply toward an associate degree.

Co-curricular profile

A tool for students to illustrate their personal growth, skills, and development. It can accompany a student's transfer college application or resume. See the Student Life Office for details.

Co-enrollment

Simultaneous registration at ACC and another educational institution, either a high school or four-year university.

Commencement

A formal ceremony in which colleges award degrees to graduating students. Also known as graduation.

Consortium Agreement

A consortium agreement is a contract between two colleges/universities that recognize the registration of a student at each site for financial aid purposes. The agreement certifies only one of the two colleges/universities will administer federal financial aid for the student.

Core curriculum

The coursework from all academic disciplines that is required for all undergraduate degrees – liberal arts, humanities, sciences, and political, social, and cultural history.

Corequisite

Two courses that must be taken concurrently.

Cost of Attendance

The estimated total cost of attending a specific college or university for one academic year. The cost of education usually includes tuition, fees, room, board, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

Synonyms: Cost of education

Course description

A summary of course content. Each course description also includes the course number, number of credits, required skills, prerequisites, and fees as well as whether the class is a transfer or workforce class.

Course Equivalency Guide

Document that shows you how ACC courses transfer to specific four-year institutions. These are not major-specific.

Course load

The number of academic credits that a student maintains in a semester.

Course number

Course identification containing four digits. For example English Composition is 1301. The first digit (1301) refers to the class year that course is usually taken. The second number refers to the credits assigned to the course.

Course schedule

A listing of classes offered each semester. Includes meeting times and places, synonym, course name, instructor, and any registration requirements.

Course section

One of numerous classes of the same course. The course schedule uses a five-digit synonym and three-digit section number to identify each section of each course offered.

Course synonym

A unique, 5-digit number that defines a specific section of a course. You need this number to register for a class.

Credits

A semester hour of credit usually equals an hour per week that a class meets per full term. Laboratories usually equate to one credit.

Synonyms: Credit hours Semester credit hours

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D

DD Form 214

The DD Form 214 is the discharge certificate issued by the Department of Defense upon a military service member's retirement, separation, or discharge from active-duty military.

Degree

Credential awarded for the successful completion of a program of study.

Degree audit

Formal list of the courses a student has completed and still must complete in order to qualify for graduation in a specific degree program. Students can view an unofficial degree (program evaluation) audit in Online Services at any time.

Degree plan

A specific list of required courses and electives to be completed for a degree.

Dependent student

One who must report not only his or her own income information, but also that of his or her parents, when applying for federal student aid. A dependent student is one who does not fall into one of the categories given under the definition of independent student in this glossary. See Independent Student.

Developmental education

Classes designed to help students prepare for successful completion of college-level coursework. Course numbers are below 1000 and do not apply to a degree or certificate.

Synonyms: Developmental courses

Disbursement date

The date when refunds are made to students.

Discipline

An area of study representing a branch of knowledge, such as mathematics.

Dual credit

Credit given for an academic course in both a high school curriculum and a college curriculum. Dual credit courses are usually taken through Early College Start and Early College High School programs

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E

Early Alert

Status of a student who, after completing a second semester or 6 credits, falls below the prescribed minimum standards for good standing. See Academic Standards of Progress

EFC

Expected Family Contribution. An index number on your Student Aid Report from the FAFSA that indicates the potential amount of Federal Pell Grant you are eligible to receive and helps the college measure your family’s financial need.

Elective

An optional course not specifically required in a student’s program of study.

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F

F-1 visa

Visa issued to a person coming to the United States for full-time academic studies. (Career or technical students receive M-1 visas.)

Faculty

Instructors who teach classes for the college.

FAFSA

Application used to determine eligibility for federal financial aid. This application is completed once a year and can be completed no earlier than January 1 of each year. Applications can be completed electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

FAFSA4caster

An online tool that provides an early estimate of your federal student aid eligibility to help you financially plan for college.

FAIA

Abbreviation for the Financial Aid Institution Application, the supplemental application for financial aid at Austin Community College.

Fees

Charges in addition to tution to cover the cost of a particular course, activity or service. General fees are charged to all students; special fees are attached to individual classes.

FERPA

Federal law (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) designed to provide students with greater access to, and control over, information contained in their educational records. It prohibits the release of information (other than directory information) without express written consent from the student. 

Final exam

Special course examination given at the end of each term. May contain any or all of the subject material of a course and usually accounts for a large portion of the final grade.

Financial aid

Money made available from grants, scholarships, loans, and part-time employment from federal, state, institutional, and private sources. Types and amounts awarded are based on various criteria such as financial need, academic achievement, etc.

Financial aid package

The total amount of financial aid a student receives.

Financial Aid Suspension

A consequence that results in your losing financial aid. Visit the Satisfactory Academic Progress page for more information.

Financial Aid Warning

A consequence that may result in your losing financial aid. Visit the Satisfactory Academic Progress page for more information.

Financial need

The difference between Austin Community College's cost of attendance and your expected family/student resources.

First-time-in-college student

A student who has never attended college or any other postsecondary institution.(Students are not reported as first-time-entering-college until they have completed their high school work.)

Synonyms: FTIC student

FSEOG

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a federal program based on need for those students with the lowest (0) expected family contribution.

FTIC student

A student who has never attended college or any other postsecondary institution.(Students are not reported as first-time-entering-college until they have completed their high school work.)

Synonyms: First-time-in-college student

Full-time student

Enrollment for 12 or more credits in fall, spring or summer terms; six or more credits in a summer 5½ week session.

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G

General Studies

A non-specific Associate of Arts degree program that fulfills core curriculum requirements.

Good Standing

Eligible to continue to register for college coursework. See academic standards of progress for details.

GPA

A measure of scholastic performance. The GPA is obtained by dividing the number of grade points by the hours of work attempted.

GPS

A group advising session for new students. GPS introduces the tools needed to register successfully for classes. Also provides information and assistance with determining a major and creating a class schedule. Also called group planning session.

Grade point average

A measure of scholastic performance. The GPA is obtained by dividing the number of grade points by the hours of work attempted.

Graduation application

The application a student must file in Online Services to be awarded a college degree. Graduation application deadlines appear every semester in the academic calendar.

Grant

Financial aid that does not need to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from classes and owe a refund). Grants are awarded based on financial need and availability of funds. There isn't a separate application process for grants; you apply for them when you complete the FAFSA.

Green Pass

The ACC Green Pass is a Capital Metro pass issued on request to credit students, faculty, and staff. It is valid for one semester, allowing rides on all Capital Metro rail and bus lines.

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H

Hybrid classes

A distance learning course that blends both online and on-campus instruction requirements.

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I

Independent student

One who is allowed to report only his or her own income information (and that of a spouse, if the student is married) when applying for federal student aid. Your dependency is determined by a series of questions on the FAFSA. Criteria used by the US Department of Education to determine a student’s dependency are age, marital status, financial dependents, homelessness, legal guardianship, veteran status, military status, orphan status, or ward of the court status.

Internship

A job in a student’s field of study and may include salary in addition to college credit.

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J

J-1 visa

Visa issued to an international student, research scholar, and professor, among others, to enter the U.S. as exchange visitors for the purpose of gaining experience, studying or doing research in their respective fields.

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L

Loan

Borrowed money you must pay back with interest.

Loan fees

The average fee charged by the federal government and deducted from the loan proceeds before disbursement to help reduce the cost of supporting low-interest loans.

Lock Date

The date by which a student must meet minimum course attendance requirements to remain eligible for the full amount of financial aid. Students who withdraw from a course or do not meet the minimum attendance requirements for the course up until this date may have to return some or all of their aid based on their last date of course attendance. The lock date is generally the 60% completion point of each semester.

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M

M-1 visa

Visa issued to a person coming to the United States for full-time academic studies. (The F-1 visa is for students engaged in academic studies.)

Major

Student’s area of specialization, it consists of a number of courses in one program of study. All students must declare a major by the time they have accumulated 30 credits.

Master promissory note

binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. The master promissory note can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years). It lists the terms and conditions under which you agree to repay the loan and explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. It’s important to read and save your MPN because you’ll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about provisions of the loan, such as deferments or forbearances.

Maximum Time Frame Suspension

A consequence that results in your losing financial aid. Visit the Satisfactory Academic Progress page for more information.

MySL

A web-based system that allows students to get involved in Student Life organizations and events and to build a personal co-curricular profile.

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N

Noncredit class

Classes that do not award credit to students so do not meet the requirements for a college degree.

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O

Online Services

A secure, web-based dashboard of all online services and student data. This is where you go to register, receive bill statements, check grades, review your schedule, etc.

Open Registration

The period when all eligible ACC students can register for classes.

Orientation

An introduction to the college, class, or program for new students. First-time college students must complete the college's new student orientation before they begin classes.

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P

Parent contribution

The amount your parents are expected to contribute toward your educational expenses.

Part-time student

Student enrolled for fewer than 12 credits in fall, spring, or summer semesters or fewer than 6 credits in a summer 5½ week session.

Payment plan

Short-term agreement that splits tuition bills into installments rather than a lump sum.

Prerequisite

Specific conditions, requirements, or classes that must be completed before enrolling in a specific course. Prerequisites appear in course descriptions.

Probation

A status given to students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress. See Academic Progress Standards.

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R

Registration

The process of selecting and paying for classes for an academic term. Students register via Online Services.

Registration eligibility date

The earliest date on which a student can register for classes for the upcoming semester.

Residency status

Classification of students as in-district, out-of-district, out-of-state, and international for tuition purposes.

Reverse transfer

An agreement between ACC and a university to allow students to receive an associate degree by combining credits completed at ACC with credits earned at the university.

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S

SAP

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy defines the minimum academic requirements needed to maintain eligibility for financial aid, including a minimum GPA of 2.0, minimum course completion rate of 67 percent, and a maximum degree completion time frame of 150 percent. Visit the Satisfactory Academic Progress page for more information.

SAR

The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a summary of the information you submitted on your FAFSA. You receive this report (often called the SAR) via email a few days after your FAFSA has been processed or by mail within 7-10 days if you did not provide an e-mail address. The SAR will contain your EFC, which is the number that's used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

Scantron

Computer-scored answer sheets used for many college exams. Sold in college bookstores and should be filled in with a #2 pencil.

Schedule changes

Period at the beginning of a term when students can sign up for new classes and/or drop classes they were registered for. 

Scholarships

Financial aid that does not need to be repaid. Scholarships often are awarded to students based on their personal accomplishments, financial need, race or ethnicity, life circumstances, or college major. There is one application to complete in order to apply for all ACC Foundation scholarships.

Semester

A standard academic term of approximately 16 weeks of instruction in fall and spring and 11 weeks in summer. ACC also offers short sessions that range from 1 week to 12 weeks.

Semester hours

Credit hours accumulated during a semester.

SEVIS

Acronym for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which is an Internet database reporting system. Schools that enroll F-1, M-1 or J-1 students must electronically transmit current data through SEVIS to the Department of Homeland Security and/or the Department of State throughout the student's stay. This reporting is done on a regular basis. All schools are required to enter information for all their current F-1 or M-1 non-immigrants students, to report their enrollment, and other information in SEVIS.

Short session

A semester-length class that you complete in fewer days by attending class for more hours per day.

Six-drop rule

The Texas State Legislature enacted a law that states that beginning in fall 2007 students can only withdraw from six classes during their college career.

Student contribution

The portion of a student's expected earnings, savings and other resources that they are expected to contribute toward their educational expenses.

Student Government

Official representatives of the student body to the administration in matters concerning student life.

Student Handbook

Calendar and handbook that includes ACC rules, regulations, official academic calendar, and information on all departments.

Student hold

A restriction placed on students who fail to meet financial or other obligations. Students must clear the holds with the offices that placed the holds before they will be allowed to register or receive other ACC services.

Student record

The complete list of a student's classes attempted, grades and credit earned, degrees awarded, and other pertinent academic information.

Subsidized loan

A direct loan based on financial need for which the federal government pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is in an in-school, or deferment status.

Suspension

Student status under which a student is not permitted to attend college for a specific period. See Academic Standards of Progress and the Student Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Policy.

Syllabus

Outline of important information about a course usually given the first day of class. Written by an instructor, it usually includes important dates, assignments, expectations, textbooks, and policies specific to the course.

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T

Texas Success Initiative

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) is a state-legislated program designed to improve student success in college. Students are required to take an approved assessment before enrolling in college credit classes or otherwise demonstrate they are prepared to meet college reading, writing, and math skill requirements.

Third attempt classes

Effective fall 2002 students who repeat a class three or more times will be responsible for paying a higher tuition rate.

TPEG

The Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG) is a state grant program that is awarded to students based on financial need.

Transcript

The official record of a student’s academic performance at an institution. An official transcript has the registrar’s stamp on it and must be delivered in a sealed envelope; an unofficial transcript does not have this stamp and can be printed by a student through Online Services.

Transfer agreement

An official agreement between a community college and a four-year institution that designates the transferability of specific courses and/or degrees.

Transfer credits

Number of credits taken at one school that may be used to meet graduation or degree requirements at another school.

Transfer degree

A transfer degree is an associate degree that is designed specifically to fulfill the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. At ACC, the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Arts in Teaching are transfer degrees.

Transfer Guide

Document that will help you figure out which lower level courses to take at ACC that will transfer to a four-year institution for a specific major or degree.

Transfer Information Sheet

A summary of critical information about the university (contact information, application deadlines, admissions requirements, links to academic programs available, financial aid and scholarships, college costs).

Tuition

The charge per credit hour for academic instruction. This cost does not include fees.

Tuition and fees

The total amount owed by a student after registering for classes. Includes per-credit tuition, mandatory fees, and any additional course-related fees.

Tuition deadline

The date on which students must have paid their tuition and fees in order to maintain their registration.

Tutoring

Special academic help in specified subjects.

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U

Unofficial transcript

An unofficial transcript does not have the registrar’s stamp and can be printed by a student through Online Services.

Unsubsidized Loan

A direct loan or which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan.

USCIS

Acronym for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This agency is responsible for the administration of benefits and immigration services available under the DHS. Some of the services provided to F-1 students, include adjudicating employment application, providing forms, and adjudicating change of status application.

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V

Verification

The process ACC uses to confirm the data reported on your FAFSA. ACC notifies you via ACCmail if you must provide documentation to support income and other information that you reported.

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W

W

Grade that appears on students’ record when they withdraw from a class after the census date. State law limits the number of withdrawals to six for a students’ undergraduate career.

Waitlist

When a class fills during registrations, students may have the option to join a waitlist. Up to eight students may join a waitlist for a class, and are notified if a seat opens.

Warning

Status of a student who falls below the prescribed minimum standards for good standing. See Academic Standards of Progress.

Weekend College

Classes offered Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays during fall, spring, and summer semesters for the convenience of students who work during weekdays.

Withdrawal

Students may withdraw, or drop, from a course or from the college. You must complete an official process to withdraw. Check the catalog for information on withdrawal instructions, deadlines, refund policies, and the possible impact on financial aid and academic standing.

Work-Study

A student aid program that provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses. Students awarded Work-Study are not guaranteed a job, and earnings are not paid in advance so they cannot be used to pay the direct costs (tuition, books, etc.) of the semester in which they are awarded.

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