Glossary beginning with G


Gapping is the practice of failing to meet a student's full demonstrated need. See also Unmet Need below.


Garnishment is the practice of withholding a portion of a defaulted borrower's wages to repay his or her loan, without their consent.

Gift Aid

Gift aid is financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, which does not need to be repaid.

Grace Period (for loan repayment)

The grace period is a short time period after graduation during which the borrower is not required to begin repaying his or her student loans. The grace period may also kick in if the borrower leaves school for a reason other than graduation or drops below half-time enrollment. Depending on the type of loan, students will have a grace period of six months (Stafford Loans) or nine months (Perkins Loans) before they must start making payments on your student loans. The PLUS Loans do not have a grace period.

Grade Point Average

The GPA is an average of a student's grades. Grades have been converted to a 4.0 scale, with 4.0 being an A, 3.0 being a B, and 2.0 being a C.

Graduate Student

A student who is enrolled in a post-baccalaureate, masters, or Ph.D. Program.

Graduated Repayment

Under a graduated repayment schedule, the monthly payments are smaller at the start of the repayment period, and gradually become larger.


A grant is a type of financial aid based on financial need that the student does not have to repay.

Gross Income

Income calculated before taxes, deductions, and allowances have been subtracted.

Guarantee Agency or Guarantor

Guarantee agencies are responsible for approving student loans and insuring them against default. Guarantee agencies also oversee the student loan process and enforce federal and state rules regarding student loans. If a borrower defaults on an educational loan, the guarantee agency assumes responsibility for collecting the loan and repays the lender. This means that guaranteed educational loans are extremely low-risk loans for the lender, despite being unsecured. Each state has a different guarantee agency that administers the Federal Stafford and PLUS loans for students in that state. There are 41 guarantee agencies for educational loans in the United States. The state guarantee agency is the best source of information about FFELP loans in that state. Although the federal government sets the overall structure of the FFELP loan program (for example, loan limits and interest rates), each state may set additional restrictions on the loans, within federal guidelines. For the name, address, and telephone number of the state's guarantee agency, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 (1-800-4-FED-AID).

Guarantee Fee

A guarantee fee is a small percentage of the loan that is paid to the guarantee agency to insure the loan against default. The insurance fee is usually 1% of the loan amount (and by law cannot exceed 3% of the loan amount).

Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL)

The Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL) is the old name for the subsidized Stafford Loan. A guaranteed loan is a loan that is insured against default. In the case of guaranteed student loans, the Federal government agrees to repay the loans in case of default. Each loan is charged a guarantee fee to cover the costs of defaulted loans.