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Advising Glossary

Academic Year : NSU's academic year is divided into 3 semesters. We begin with the fall semester, followed by the winter semester. Each one of those is 16 weeks long. We also have a summer semester which is 12 weeks long. (The length of courses may vary. In the summer we offer 7-week courses and 12-week courses.) Please check on the start and end dates of a course in order to determine the length of the course.

Accreditation : is approval granted by an organization, government agency or other entity, which certifies that an educational institution meets specific approved operating and educational standards. NSU is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools which is the regional accreditation body for colleges in the southeast.

Articulation Agreement : An agreement specifying how courses transfer among academic institutions. In Florida, an articulation agreement with all state universities guarantees admission to any student with an A.A. degree.

Award Letter : Document issued by a college’s financial aid office listing all of the financial assistance offered to a student.

Catalog Year : The College periodically publishes catalogs with dates corresponding to specific academic years. Students follow the programs and program requirements as outlined in the catalog in effect at the time they initially enroll. The exception to this rule is if a student has been out of attendance at the college for more than one academic year, the catalog in place when he/she returns is the one he/she must follow. It is very important to consult with an academic advisor to determine how a new catalog may impact specific course prerequisites, transfer requirements and other important academic requirements.

CLEP (College Level Examination Program) : Credit earned (for a particular class) through a proficiency test. Basically, these tests measure your knowledge in a particular subject area, like English or Psychology, and can allow you to bypass specific undergraduate coursework.

Commencement : is the ceremony marking graduation. Although students may be awarded diplomas throughout the year, NSU's commencement ceremony takes place once a year in May, following the end of the winter semester.

Course fees : Fees may be charged for some courses to cover the specific costs of their required instructional materials and supplies. Course fees vary for each course.

Credit : A credit (sometimes called a semester hour) is a unit of measurement applied to college coursework. One credit equals approximately one hour of classroom instruction per week. Most college courses are three credits. Credits are also used to calculate tuition and are a factor in a student's grade point average.

Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) : Credit earned (for a particular class) through a proficiency test. Basically, these tests measure your knowledge in a particular subject area, like English or Psychology, and can allow you to bypass specific undergraduate coursework.

Degree Works : An electronic document listing required courses for graduation based on the student’s declared major. The degree audit summarizes courses the student has taken to fulfill those requirements and provides course-sequencing information.

Drop : Student’s removal from a course prior to or after the first week of classes. Students must officially drop from the course by completing established procedures. See an academic advisor for more information. Drop/Withdrawal deadlines are published in the official college calendar. It is the responsibility of the student to adhere to these deadlines.

Elective : A college-level course not taken to fulfill a general education or program requirement.

FAFSA : Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is the form used to apply for federal financial aid. English and Spanish versions are available. Printed copies are available at NSU's Financial Aid office. Visit the FAFSA website for more information.

Financial Aid : Scholarships, grants, loans and work assignments, which are awarded to a student to help pay for all or part of college costs. Visit the Financial Aid website for more information.

Full-time : Students enrolled for 12 or more credit hours during fall, winter, or summer semesters..

GPA (Grade Point Average) : The ratio of grade points earned to credits attempted.

Grades : A measurement of achievement in a class. Typical grades are “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” in college-level courses. NSU also awards plus and minus grades.

Grade of “W” : Grade (representing “withdrawn”) assigned when a student officially withdraws from a course after the first week of the semester. This does not affect the GPA, but may affect academic standing and eligibility for financial aid. See your academic advisor for details.

Grade of “I” : Grade (representing “incomplete”) assigned when an instructor, based on valid and extenuating circumstances, allows the student to complete course requirements after the end of the current semester. If the student does not complete the requirements for the course by the end of the next major semester, the “I” grade will become an “F.” An “I”-grade contract is required.

International Students : are students attending NSU on an F-1 Student Visa. For more information on International Students, please visit:

Loans : Money awarded by a bank or lending institution to pay for education costs that must be paid back.

Major : Designation given to the complete group of courses necessary to fulfill the requirements for graduation in a specific field of study, such as Business Administration or Biology.

Non-degree Seeking Student : Non-Degree Students are students which do not plan to pursue a degree program at NSU. Students must be degree seeking in order to receive financial aid. Some certificate programs may be eligible for financial aid.

NYU Language Exam : Credit earned (for a particular class) through a proficiency test. Basically, these tests measure your knowledge in a particular foreign language subject area, like Hebrew or Portuguese, and can allow you to bypass specific undergraduate coursework.

Part-time : Students enrolled in less than 12 credit hours for fall, winter, or summer terms.

Prerequisite : An academic requirement that must be met before another course can be taken.

Program : A curriculum or group of courses leading to a degree or certificate in a specific field of study.

Registration : Process of enrolling for classes, which involves selection of courses by day and hour, and the payment of fees.

Scholarship : Money awarded to pay for school related costs.

SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) : Process that identifies students who have not met the requirements of their program through one or more criteria such as pace, GPA, quantitative etc.

STF : Student Transaction Form. This form is used to register for classes when student cannot register themselves online.

Syllabus : A summary or outline of specific course objectives, assignments, and the grading formula distributed in each class at the beginning of the semester.

Term or Semester : A subdivision of the academic year; i.e., fall, winter, and summer semesters. Fall and winter are approximately 16 weeks each, with two 8-week term classes within the full semester. Summer semesters are are12 weeks with a first term of 7 weeks.

Transcript : A student’s academic record. Official copies may be obtained from the Office of Records and Registration. Students may print unofficial copies from Sharklink on the NSU website.

Transfer Credit : Coursework completed at another accredited college. For courses to be evaluated for NSU credit an official transcript must be submitted to the Enrollment Processing Services.

Unofficial Transcript : A printed record of a student's academic history that contains all courses both past and current, but is not stamped and/or marked "Official" and is not enclosed in a sealed envelope marked "Unofficial if Opened".

Withdrawal : Period of time after the Drop/Add period, but well into the semester, when a student may withdraw from a class. A grade of W will appear on his/her transcript. Refunds are not available. Refer to the Schedule of Classes each term for the first and last day to withdraw. Withdrawal dates will differ for classes that meet less than the entire semester.

Work Study : On-campus, part-time employment for eligible students

100% Refund Date : The last day to drop classes and receive a refund; change courses without financial penalty; register, add a course, or change sections of a course.

150% Financial Aid Rule : If eligible, you may receive federal financial aid for up to 150 percent of the number of credits needed to graduate from your program of study. Most programs are 120 credits, so you could receive help for up to 180 credits. If you attempt more than 150 percent of the credits needed to complete any one program, you may not continue to receive financial aid.

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