Whatever your reason for attending college, doing so should be an investment. That's why people go after it at all, why they find the energy to make it to class after a day or work or stay up half the night finishing a paper: because they hope to get something out of the experience that can benefit them in the future.

If you're not sufficiently informed about the types of available financial aid, however, your education could cost significantly more than is necessary, or even plummet you into debt. The world of financial aid may seem murky and interminable to the uninitiated, but by taking the time to educate yourself on the many grants, loans, and customs that make up the system of student financial aid, you can avoid costly mistakes and maximize your educational investment. Here's a look at 40 student-loan terms that could help you wade through all the lingo.

Related Financial Aid Advice for Online Students

General Knowledge and Financial Aid Terminology

Specific Loans and Grants