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College Vocabulary

Colleges and Universities have a language of their own.  Below are a list of words and definitions that will help you understand your student.

Office Definitions

Bursar’s Office

Office that handles the assessment and collection of student fees.  Payments to student’s accounts are made to this office and refunds are processed by this office as well. Contact this office if your student has a question about their account balance or refund.

Financial Aid Office

This office administers federal, state, and institutional aid programs to qualified students. Contact this office if your student has a question about their financial aid package, documents needed to process aid, or status of financial aid.


This office is responsible for the implementing, monitoring, and maintaining information technology such as the campus data network, telephone system, computer systems, computer labs, and servers at the University of Memphis. Students should contact this office if they are having an issue with their email or logging into the University site or computer.

Registrar’s Office

The Registrar oversees registration at the University, providing aids such as calendars, class schedules, final exam schedules, and guides to online registration and enrollment management. It also manages student academic records, produces official transcripts.

Scholarship Office

This office awards and manages scholarships for current students.  Many incoming freshman are awarded scholarships, but there are also scholarships available to current students.

College Vocabulary


Certification that a school or institution has met standards set by an outside review organization

Articulation Agreement

An agreement between two or more institutions to transfer courses. The agreement identifies specific courses that may be taken at participating institutions in lieu of courses at the University of Memphis.


Graduation ceremony that honors graduating students in all schools and colleges


A course that is not required for a major or minor.  For example, if your student is majoring in history, they may take an art class as an elective.


Stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  The FAFSA must be filled out to be awarded grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study jobs.

Final Exam Period

Period of time when final examinations are administered to students.

Graduate Student

Student who has completed a bachelor’s degree and is working on completing a master’s or doctoral degree


A member of a fraternity or sorority.


A hold may be placed on a student's academic record for various reasons, such as non-payment of tuition and fees, not returning library books or library fines, not satisfying immunization records, parking fines or academic reasons.  Most holds prevent students from registering or release of a student's academic records.  Students should check their myMemphis account to contact the correct office to have the hold removed.


A temporary grade given to a student who has to leave a class with the intention of completing it within the next semester. An “I” will appear on the student’s transcript until all requirements have been fulfilled. 


A part-time or full-time, temporary job in a real-world setting closely related to a student’s area of study.  It may be done for college credit and it may or may not be paid.


Borrowed money to be repaid after graduation


The area that a student chooses to specialize in in their studies


Academic area that a student chooses to specialize in that requires fewer courses than a major


A course that must be completed before a student can enroll in a more advanced course.


Chief University officer who oversees all academic areas of the university

Resident Assistant

Also, referred to as a RA. Typically an upper level student who manages and oversees a group of rooms and the students living in them in a residence hall

Student Affairs

Division of the University that handles most non-academic activities including student leadership and involvement, adult and commuter student services, campus recreation center, counseling, testing, student health services, student activities, residence halls, dining services, sororities and fraternities, career services, and multicultural affairs.

Study Day

The day prior to final examinations during most regular semesters.

Study Week

The four day period preceding final examinations.


An outline from the professor of course requirement, academic policies, and a tentative schedule of assignments


A student who is working towards a bachelor’s degree

Work-Study Job

Job that is awarded as part of a student’s financial aid package.  These jobs are financed through the federal government.  Consideration for federal work-study is given to students who demonstrate financial need.  Students should look at their financial aid award in myMemphis to determine if they have been awarded.  Those not receiving this award can also find employment on campus as a regular student worker.