Glossary and Terms

This glossary is intended to describe important vocabulary related to enrollment at NWFSC.  Terms related to admissions, testing, advising, registration, financial aid and payment services and processes are included as well as other critical vocabulary enrolled students should know. 

Enrollment Services Glossary






Associate of arts degree. A degree awarded to students with a 2.0 or higher G.P.A. who have completed a minimum of 60 credit hours, including a general education core of 30 credit hours. This degree is designed to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.



Associate of applied science degree. A degree awarded to students with a 2.0 or higher G.P.A. who have completed a minimum of 60 credit hours, including a general education core of 20 credit hours. This degree is primarily designed to prepare students for immediate employment.


Ability to Benefit

Students who are not high school graduates (or who have not earned a General Education Development (GED) Certificate) can demonstrate that they have the "ability to benefit" from the education or training being offered by passing an approved ability-to-benefit (ATB) test.


Academic Year

NWFSC academic year starts with the fall term. A full academic year includes the fall, Winter/Spring, and Summer terms.  The winter can be a mini-session and the summer can be several mini-sessions. The academic year and the catalogue year coincide.



Academic Success Center.

The ASC provides free tutoring and other types of academic support services to all students enrolled in credit courses.


Advising Weeks

Advising weeks are a period scheduled in the fall, in the spring and summer to prepare students to register for the upcoming terms. For example, fall advising weeks are generally scheduled around the beginning of November to prepare students to register early for the winter and spring semesters. While students can be advised year-round through Advising, Center the advising periods is designed to place special emphasis on advising and early preparation and registration for the upcoming terms.



An advisor is a professional staff or faculty member with specific expertise in helping students with academic planning. NWFSC Advising Office is the college's primary provider of advising services.



A class may be added during scheduled registration and schedule adjustment period.


Allied Health

Allied Health programs include Emergency Medical Services-Paramedic, Nursing, and Radiologic Technology, Dental.  These programs lead to certificates and/or degrees that provide immediate entry into a career field.


Alternative Loans

Private loans (funded by commercial lenders) designed to supplement other types of aid and financial resources needed to assist students in meeting the cost of attending college. Alternative loans should be considered only after all other low-cost financial aid resources have been exhausted (e.g., grants, scholarships, Stafford loans).



An alumnus is a person who has graduated or attended a school, college, or university. The NWFSC Alumni and Friends Association is the college's organization for its graduates, former students, and friends.



An audit is an enrollment option for a credit class. No credit is earned for audited courses. A final grade of "X" (designating "audit") will appear on the transcript. Students must select this option within a specified time period.


Award Package

The total amount of financial aid a student receives for a single academic year. A financial aid package may include a combination of grants, scholarships, work and/or loans. These awards could be from federal or state funds, the college, or private sources such as the NWFSC Foundation.




Bachelor's Degree

The degree awarded by four-year colleges and universities. There are different types of bachelor's degrees such as a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts), B.S. (Bachelor of Science), and B.A.E. (bachelor of education). Each four-year institution makes its own determination about the type of bachelor's degrees it offers and the qualifications necessary for receiving one or the other.




Career Programs

Learning programs (majors) designed to give students the academic background and career skills necessary for direct entry into the job market. Career programs lead to certificates of proficiency or A.A.S. degrees.



Catalog describes the college's policies, procedures, services, learning programs, and courses. It also lists the college's full-time faculty and administrative and professional staff. The catalog is printed once a year.


Catalog Year

Catalog year coincides with its academic year. The college publishes a new catalog for each new academic year. Students follow the programs and program requirements as outlined in the catalog in effect at the time they initially enroll. The exceptions to this rule are: a) if and when students change their learning program/major, they must follow the requirements of the catalog in effect at the time of the change (or a later catalog if they choose); b) if a student has been out of the college for more than two academic years, the catalog in place when they return is the one they must follow; and c) a student may always choose to follow a later catalog year (they may not choose an earlier one). 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.



Certification is a credential granted by an external organization or company confirming that an individual has specific skills in a certain area. Certification is often awarded as a result of testing. In some cases, some combination of experience, instruction, and testing may also be required. Certification is different than licensing in that a license is almost always granted by a local, state, and/or federal government agency, while certification is granted by companies and organizations. NWFSC has several programs that lead to certification. For example, various computer support technology and network administration programs prepare students for industry certification exams such as the CompTIA i-Net+, the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS), and others.


Certificates of Proficiency

Certificates are available in selected career programs and requiring specific career courses. Certificates involve fewer requirements than degree programs.


Change of Information Form 

This form is used to officially change a student's name, address, phone number, social security number, email, or emergency contacts. Documentation may be required as verification of change. Download this form at:


Change of Program of Study Form

This form is used to officially change a student's learning program/major or program option and must be signed by an advisor.


Clock hours

Programs must provide training that prepares student for gainful employment in a recognized occupation and contain a minimum of

-          15 weeks instruction; 600 clock hours

-          10 weeks of instruction; 300 clock hours


College-Level Courses

These courses may count toward degree requirements and may generally be used as transfer credits to other colleges and universities. They are numbered 100 and above.



Commencement is the ceremony marking graduation. Students may be awarded diplomas following the fall, spring, and summer terms. Northwest Florida State College commencement ceremony takes place in May, immediately following the end of the spring semester.


Competitive Admissions

Used for programs that requires baseline criteria for inclusion in the pool of qualified candidates.  Applicants are compared to one another and offered admission on the basis of their qualifications, and other factors, such as interview, performances, or auditions.



A co-requisite is a course that must be taken with or before enrolling in another course. e.g.: FYEX-100 First Year Experience must be taken with or before ENGL 096, Fundamentals of Academic Reading.


Cost of Attendance (COA)

The total cost of college for the academic year including tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, room and board, and miscellaneous expenses. COA is sometimes referred to as the budget when calculating cost.


Course Codes

Course codes are alphabetic abbreviations for the subject areas; for example, the course code for English is ENGL, the code for Biology is BIOL, and so on. A full listing of course codes is available in the catalogue.


Course Fee

Course fees are charged for some courses to cover the specific costs of their required instructional materials and supplies. Course fees vary.


Course Number

A three-digit number that identifies a specific course within each subject. e.g. English classes may be numbered/lettered ENC.


Credit/Semester Hour

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 (GPA).


Credit Load

A credit load represents the number of credit hours a student has registered for in a given semester. It is generally recommended that a first-semester student take a maximum of 12-15 credits.


Cyber Cafe

Cyber Cafe is located in The Cafe' on the Quad. Students can access the Internet free of charge.





Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to when the student borrower signed a promissory note. Default also may result from failure to submit requests for deferment or cancellation on time.  The consequences of default are severe.



A deferment is an authorized period of time during which a borrower may postpone federal student loan principal and interest payments. Deferments are available while borrowers are in school at least half time (6 credits or more), enrolled in a graduate fellowship program or rehabilitation training program, and during periods of unemployment or economic hardship. Other deferments may be available depending on when and what you borrowed. Contact your lender for additional details.



The process the college uses to drop students from classes when they have not paid their bills in full by the required deadline. Students receiving financial aid and/or scholarships or those using the college's payment plan may have a different payment schedule from other students.


College Preparatory Courses

These courses teach reading, writing, or math skills that prepare students for college-level coursework. They are numbered in the 060s, 070s, 080s, and 090s (e.g., ENGL-096) and are required for students who place into them. The credits earned for these classes count toward a student's GPA (grade point average). They can be covered by financial aid, but are not transferable and do not count toward degree requirements.


Direct Loan

Direct Loan Program. Loans made through this program are referred to as Direct Loans. Eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. Direct Loans include subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans (also known as Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans), Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans. You repay these loans directly to the U.S. Department of Education.



The process used during the beginning of the semester when students need to alter their class schedules after having been registered. Dropped courses do not appear on a student transcript. Full or partial refunds are available, depending on when in the drop period a student drops the class. (Do not confuse "dropping" a class with "withdrawing" from a class. See "Withdrawal Period.")




Elective Courses

Courses that a student may choose to take as part of his/her learning program and that count toward graduation requirements.


Electronic Refund

An electronic refund is a direct deposit of a student's credit balance resulting from tuition and fees overpayment, financial aid, or loan disbursement into the bank account of student's choice.


Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

An amount (determined by a formula established by Congress) that indicates how much of your family's financial resources should be available to help pay for school. The EFC is used in determining your eligibility for financial aid.




FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is the form used to apply for federal financial aid. English and Spanish versions are available. The FAFSA may be completed online. Students may use, if they desire, computers located in the Student Services Center to enter their information and complete the application process. The priority deadline for submitting the FAFSA is March 1 each year.


Financial Aid

Scholarships, grants, loans, and work assignments, are various types of financial aid awarded to a student to help pay for all or part of college costs.


Financial Aid Office

The purpose of the financial aid office is to administer student financial aid services, including federal and state financial aid, scholarships, loans, and work study programs.



Forbearance is a temporary postponement or reduction of student loan payments.  Forbearance also may be an extension of the repayment period. All borrowers are charged interest during forbearance.


FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant)

FSEOG is a federal grant program, officially entitled Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, for students demonstrating exceptional financial need. Certain eligibility criteria apply.


Full Time

Full time Enrollment status requires a student to be enrolled for 12 or more credits in a major term (fall or spring). Students in selected health career programs, including clinical course work, may be considered full time with fewer credits in some cases.




General Education Core

Core courses are those courses required of all students pursuing a college degree. They include courses in composition, literature, arts, humanities, mathematics, science, history, social sciences, and interdisciplinary and emerging issues. Students completing the associate of arts degree must complete at least 30 core credits; students completing the associate of applied science degree must complete at least 20 core credits; students completing the A.S.E. degree must complete at least 30 core credits.


General Education Development (GED) Certificate.

This is a certificate students receive if they've passed a specific, approved high school equivalency test. Students who have a GED may still qualify for federal student aid.


Grade Point Average (GPA)

GPA is also referred to as Quality Point Average (QPA). The QPA is the ratio of grade points earned to the number of credit hours attempted. Grades of A, B, C, D, and F are part of the GPA calculation. To compute the GPA, add all the grade points earned and divide this sum by the number of semester hours attempted.


Grade Points

Also referred to as quality points, the numerical value of a grade multiplied by the credit hours for a course. (A=4 pts.; B=3 pts.; C=2 pts.; D=1 pt.). EX: A student earning an A (4 points/credit) in a 3 credit course will earn 12 grade points.


Graduation Petition

Petitioning to graduate is a formal process for all students planning to receive a certificate or degree. Students must complete a graduation petition form and meet with an academic advisor, who will conduct the initial evaluation of their academic record. If the student has completed all certificate or degree requirements or will do so during the term this review is conducted, the advisor will sign the petition. (Please note that commencement ceremonies are conducted in May only.) For more information regarding graduation requirements, please consult the college's catalogue.



A grant is considered financial aid that you do not have to pay back, and is given to students who have financial need.




Help Desk

The Help Desk provides a single point of contact for students, faculty, and staff to get timely help with their technology needs.  We offer friendly and efficient support via telephone, email, and the web for technical issues.


Higher One

A financial services company focused solely on higher education that NWFSC has partnered with to provide electronic refund services to credit and certain noncredit students.


Hybrid Course

A Hybrid Course is a form of online course that combines online and on-campus classroom instruction. It is particularly recommended for students who are taking an online class for the first time and for those who like the convenience of an online course, but enjoy the dynamics of classroom instruction.




Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR)

This is an electronic version of your Student Aid Report (SAR).  The ISIR lets NWFSC know what information was put on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.




Letter of Recognition

This letter is available in selected career programs and requiring fewer specialized courses than a certificate of proficiency. Students should submit applications for Letters of Recognition to the appropriate academic division.

Login ID

Your Login ID is used to access NWFSCS network resources and your RaiderNet account. 




Major Programs of Study

A planned series of courses aimed at an academic and/or career goal resulting in a certificate, A.A., or A.A.S. degree.



Jimmy Raider is NWFSC's mascot. Jimmy is a fox and represents the Jimmy Doolittle Raider's and their amazing mission from Eglin field (now Eglin Air Force Base) to engage in a raid on Tokyo which also created a turning point in World War II. More information on the Jimmy Doolittle Raiders is available on the Institution's website.




National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

NSLDS is our database for federal student financial aid where you can find out about the aid you've received. By using your PIN, you can get information on federal loan and Pell Grant amounts, outstanding balances, the status of your loans and disbursements made. You can access NSLDS at


New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation (NSO) is a program offered prior to the upcoming fall or spring semester to prepare new students for college success. Information is provided about academic policies and procedures, services, and campus life. Some campus programs offer specialized orientation sessions for their students in addition to the main NSO program. For more information about NSO or to sign up to attend, contact the Office of Student Life.



The National Junior College Athletic Association, NJCAA is the national governing body for two-year college athletic programs. NWFSC is a member of NJCAA and follows its rules.



NWFSC is a frequently used abbreviation for Northwest Florida State College.




Official Transcript

A printed record of a student's academic history, issued by the Office of Records and Registration, that is stamped and/or marked "Official" and is enclosed in a sealed envelope marked "Unofficial if Opened". Request a transcript at, RaiderNet, or download an official transcript request form and mail in.





Enrollment in fewer than 12 credits in a major term (Fall or Spring).



The password is used to access NWFCS network resources and Raidernet.


Pell Grant

This is a need-based grant awarded to eligible undergraduate students to promote access to postsecondary education.


Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa is the national two-year college honor society. NWFSC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa is Sigma Mu. To be invited to join students must accumulate at least 12 credits in 100- and 200-level courses during a Fall or Spring semester and have at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average with no F, L, or W grades.


Placement Tests- PERT

These are computerized English and math tests that assess students' skills and place them into developmental or college-level courses. Their purpose is to ensure that students are equipped with the best possible skills for academic success. Test exemption may be possible based upon prior college level coursework or specific SAT, ACT, AP, IB or CLEP scores.



A course required before enrolling in another course. e.g., MATH 181 - Calculus I required prior to enrolling in Calculus II.





A refund is generated when a student has a credit on their account. This may be due to financial aid, class cancellation, or a class drop. Please refer to the college catalogue for specific refund policies as they may vary depending on the type of refund, established deadlines, or other factors.  Please visit the Refunds page for more information.



RaiderNet is a registration system.  It enables students to check course availability, register for credit classes, view their schedule, and pay their bills online. It also gives students access to their grades, unofficial transcripts, enrollment verification, academic standing and financial aid status. The course availability feature may be accessed by anyone; all other features require a login ID and personal identification number (PIN).


Required Courses

Courses that are needed to complete a student's learning program.





Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

At the end of the fall and winter/spring semesters, students' records of courses, credits, and grades are reviewed based on the MINIMUM standards for satisfactory performance. These are:

  • A minimum semester grade point average (GPA) of 2.0; and
  • A successful completion of at least 50% of the credits attempted each semester.

To be eligible to receive federal student financial aid, you must meet and maintain these standards of satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate offered by Northwest Florida State College.


Schedule of Classes

The schedule of classes lists all the classes being offered during a specific term (semester). Courses are listed in alphabetical and numerical order. Days and times of each courses' sections are listed. The credit schedule of classes is printed three times per year and the non-credit schedule is printed four times per year. These schedules are mailed to most county residents. The RaiderNet Express Course Availability feature has the most up to date listing of open credit classes.



A scholarship is considered financial aid that you do not have to pay back, and is usually given to students who have financial need, are recognized for academic achievements or other talents, and/or who are preparing for certain career fields. Each scholarship has different requirements. It is important to read the scholarship criteria required to be considered and/or maintain the scholarship.  Scholarships are available through Northwest Florida State College and private outside sources.


Section Number

Number or letter-number combination used to identify each section offered for a specific course. e.g., ENGL-121 is the course and 113 is a section of the course


Selective Admissions

Used for NWFSC's Nursing, Licensed Practical Nursing, Radiologic Technology. Students must meet baseline criteria for inclusion in the pool of qualified candidates.  Students are evaluated based on the baseline criteria, not against one another.



Semester is a term of study. In addition to two 14 week semesters each year (fall and spring), usually a shorter summer term (usually 4 - 10 weeks long)


SGA (Student Government Association)

The SGA is the official voice of NWFSC student body and enables students to be involved in the development and administration of college policies. In cooperation with the Office of Student Life, the SGA is also responsible for designating funds for student clubs and organizations. It assists in selecting specific themes and issues for programs brought to the college by the student body. SGA members also represent students on various college and statewide committees.


Subject Code

The four-letter abbreviation used to identify a particular subject. e.g., CMSY for Computer Systems or BIOL for Biology. The subject appears before the course number. e.g., BIOL-101



A syllabus is a summary or outline of specific course objectives, assignments, and the grading formula which is distributed in each class at the beginning of the semester.





Telecommunications Device for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired. TTY users call FL Relay 7-1-1



This is a copy of a student's academic record. Official copies may be obtained from the Office of Records and Registration. Students may print unofficial copies from Raidernet.


Transfer Credit

Coursework completed at another accredited college that is similar in nature, content and level of instruction to courses at and applies to the student's learning program. Courses will be evaluated for transfer if an official transcript is submitted to the Office of Admissions along with a completed Transcript Evaluation Request Form


Transfer Programs

Programs of study (majors) designed for transfer to other colleges and universities to complete degree programs. It is important for students who select transfer programs to work closely with academic advisors. Students planning to transfer to a Florida public (and some private) college or university should work with the Advisor, while taking courses at Northwest Florida state College ensure programs will transfer.



Tuition is the cost of class instruction. It is charged by credit hour for credit classes. There are 2 tuition rates: in-state; out-of-state. These rates are charged based on a student's legal residence (with certain exceptions provided by law).


Tuition Waiver

Refers to any programs designed by various sources that waive tuition and/or fees under certain criteria for students. Each waiver program has its own set of criteria and requirements for students to participate.




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". It may be obtained by using Raidernet.





A review process to verify the accuracy of the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).




Welcome Information Center

The Welcome Information Center is located on the Second floor of the Student Services Center This Center provides information about campus services, locations, and can assist with questions


Withdrawal Period

A period of time after the Drop/Add period, but well into the semester, when a student may withdraw from a class is referred to as the withdrawal period. A grade of W will appear on his/her transcript. Refunds are not available. Refer to the Schedule of Classes each semester for the first and last day to withdraw. Withdraw dates will differ for classes that meet less than the entire semester. (Do not confuse withdrawing from a class with dropping.



A financial aid program that offers eligible students the opportunity to work flexible part-time jobs on campus (see Work-Study Job Board) throughout the academic year. Certain eligibility criteria apply. See Financial Aid Office for specific details.