College Lingo

New students may be hearing some new words as you settle into PNW. Learn the lingo with our college cheat sheet.

Alumni:  Graduates of a particular school, college, or university.

Banded Tuition: Charging a single-tuition rate for enrollment within a specific range of credits. Banded tuition is designed to help students graduate on time (in four years) and reduce the cost of their education. Effective Fall 2018, undergraduate students enrolled at PNW will pay one rate for their basic tuition when taking between 12 credit hours and 18 credit hours in a semester.

Brightspace: An online tool where students access classes and grades. PNW students can access Brightspace by clicking the “MyPNW” link on and logging in with your career account username and password.

Bursar: The campus office that manages the financial affairs of a college or university. The PNW Bursar’s offices accepts tuition and fee payments and is located in Lawshe Hall, Room 130G on the Hammond Campus and Schwarz Hall, Room 127 on the Westville Campus.

College: An educational institution within a university. At PNW, there are five academic colleges:
the College of Business; the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences; the
College of Engineering and Sciences; the College of Nursing; and the College of Technology.

Credit Hour: A unit of measuring educational credit, usually based on the number of classroom hours per week throughout a term. For every one credit hour in which you enroll, you will spend approximately two to three hours outside of class studying. Therefore, to help determine the course load most appropriate for you, use the formula: 3 credit hours (1 course) = 3 hours in class per week = 6-9 hours study time per week.

Degree Program: An organized sequence of classes that leads to the awarding of a college degree at the undergraduate or graduate level.

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for financial aid (grants, work-study, and loans) to pay for college or career school. Learn more about FAFSA!

Federal loans: Loans made by the federal government that usually have more benefits than bank loans or other private sources and they must be repaid.

Fees: Required financial charges placed on student accounts upon enrollment in courses.

Financial Aid: Money available from various sources and under various conditions to student needing assistance to pay tuition and educational expenses; the term covers grants, loans and scholarships.

Grants: Unlike loans, grants are college-awarded money that does not have to be repaid.

Lab: Usually a 1 or 2-hour class period that reinforces a class’ covered material for that week. Most labs allow students to gain hands-on experience. Ex. A biology lab will cover the material the professor covered in that week’s class and reinforces the lecture.

Prerequisite: A condition of course enrollment that a student is required to meet in order to demonstrate readiness for enrollment in a course or program.

Registrar:  Campus office where student registration information and educational records are compiled and maintained. The PNW Registrar’s offices are located in Lawshe Hall, Room 130 on the Hammond Campus and Schwarz Hall, Room 40 on the Westville Campus.

Scholarship: A payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement. Like grants, scholarships are awarded money that does not require repayment. Learn more about scholarships!

Transcript: A certified copy of a student’s educational record containing titles of courses, the number of credits, and final grades in each course. An official transcript also states the date a degree has been conferred.

Tuition: The money an institution charges for instruction and training (does not include the cost of fees, books/supplies, housing or meals).

Work-study: Federally funded part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.