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GLOSSARY OF COLLEGE TERMS

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


ACADEMIC ADVISER: The person at a college who helps students decide what classes to take, what major to pursue, etc. An adviser is similar to a high school guidance counselor.

ACADEMIC STANDARDS: College standards that students must maintain, such as a certain grade point average, in order to remain in good standing with the school.

ACADEMIC YEAR: The school year. See Calendar.

ACCREDITED: Colleges and schools must meet specific requirements in academic programs, facilities, etc. to be certified by accrediting agencies. Usually, colleges must be accredited for their students to receive financial aid.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ACHIEVEMENT TESTS: Standardized tests given by the College Board in specific high school subjects. Colleges look at scores when making decisions about admission and course placement. These tests are not required by most schools.

ACT: A standardized admission test. See American College Testing Program.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Students wanting to attend a specific college must meet requirements (high school grade point average, standardized test scores, high school courses, etc.) to be considered for admission.

ADVANCED CREDIT: Some colleges offer tests for advanced college credit. Students who receive a high score can earn credit in specific subject areas.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT: Tests given at the end of an Advanced Placement course taken in high school. Students with high scores on these tests can be placed in upper-level college courses and may receive credit for beginning-level courses.

ADVANCED OR EARLY REGISTRATION: A period of time set by most colleges during which students can register early for classes.

ALGEBRA: Algebra is the most basic branch of mathematics. It explains the laws that govern the other branches. Branches include arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Simple algebra is concerned with the "laws" of arithmetic. For example, we can multiply two numbers either way and get the same answer. Source: Children's Encyclopedia Britannica vol.1, p.159, 1989.

ALUMNI: People who have graduated from a school.

AMERICAN COLLEGE TESTING (ACT) PROGRAM: A company that produces standardized admissions tests, including the ACT and PLAN. See Standardized Admissions Tests.

APPLICATION FEE: A charge to process a student's application. In some cases, this fee is waived if a student shows financial need.

APPRENTICESHIP: A training program, like carpentry or welding, that results in certified skills for a trade. Apprentices are usually paid for their training.

ARTICULATION AGREEMENTS: An agreement between two schools that allows course credit to be accepted or transferred and be applied toward a degree or certificate.

ARTS & SCIENCES: A grouping of academic studies that may include fine arts, languages, social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. The group may be called a division, college, or school; for example, the School of Arts and Sciences.

ASSISTANT INSTRUCTOR (AI): A graduate student who helps a professor. An AI may teach introductory classes, grade papers, or lead discussion sessions; may also be called a Teaching Assistant or TA.

ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE: The degree granted by colleges after students complete a two-year, full-time program of required courses, or its part-time equivalent. These degrees are offered by many types of colleges, including junior colleges, technical colleges and colleges and universities that offer bachelor's degrees.

BACCALAUREATE OR BACHELOR'S DEGREE: The degree granted by a college after students have satisfactorily completed a four or five year, full-time program of required courses, or its part-time equivalent.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES: The policy-making and governing body of a college.

BULLETIN: A smaller version of a college catalog; describes aspects of a particular college or university.

BURSAR: The person in charge of money at a college. Students pay the bursar tuition and room and board.

CALCULUS: A branch of mathematics divided into two general fields: differential calculus and integral calculus. Differential calculus can be used to find rates of change, like orbits of planets, satellites, and spacecraft. Integral calculus is a method of calculating quantities by splitting them up into a large number of small parts. It can be used to find the surface area of irregular objects. You can find out the total surface area of your car (even the round parts) by using integral calculus. Source: Children's Encyclopedia Britannica vol. 3, p. 308-309, 1989.

CALENDAR: How a school divides the academic year for classes and grading. Calendars usually run from August to May or September to June. School years are usually divided into quarters, semesters, or trimesters.

CAMPUS: The grounds, class buildings, and residence halls of a college.

CAREER CLUSTER: A group of jobs or career areas that are similar or require some of the same skills.

CAREER PLAN: A set of steps to be followed over a period of time to get a desired job.

CATALOG: Book about a specific college that contains general information about classes, faculty, costs, and admission and degree requirements.

CERTIFICATE: Certificates granted by colleges after completion of study for a specific occupation.

CERTIFICATE OF TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT: A certificate, similar to a report card that can be updated during and after high school, awarded to students who master specific technical skills and knowledge.

CHAIR: The highest administrator of an academic department; is usually a professor.

CHANCELLOR: Chief administrator of a college campus.

CHEMISTRY: The study of the elements, the compounds they form, and the reactions they undergo. Chemists try to discover new, useful compounds. They do their work by using the results of experiments to prove their theories.

CIVIC GROUP: A community organization or club that usually wants to improve life in the community.

COEDUCATIONAL: Both men and women being included in a facility, for instance being able to attend the college or live in a residence hall.

COLLEGE: A school offering studies that lead to an academic degree. A college can be part of a larger university system.

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP SERVICE: This service processes a supplemental financial aid application called the Profile. Some colleges and universities require The Profile in addition to other financial aid forms. See Profile Application.

COLLEGE WORK-STUDY PROGRAM: A form of financial aid in which students earn money by working part time at their college. Students apply for work-study by filling out the FAFSA. See Free Application for Federal Student Aid

COMMENCEMENT: Graduation ceremony to recognize students who have completed degree requirements.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE: See Junior College.

COMMUTER STUDENT: A student who lives at home or somewhere off campus and must drive or take public transportation to attend class.

COMPETITIVE ADMISSION POLICY: An admission policy in which a college only admits students who meet certain requirements.

CONDITIONAL ADMISSION: A college may admit students who have not met all the admission requirements. To remain, these students must fulfill specified requirements before or during their enrollment.

CONSORTIUM: Arrangement between schools that enables students who attend one school to go to class and use resources at another school.

COOPERATIVE EDUCATION (CO-OP EDUCATION): A program in which a student combines employment and study in a career field.

CORE CLASSES: Classes that all students in a major program are required to take.

CORE 40: Required program of study for all students in Indiana high schools.

COREQUISITE: A class taken with a related course.

CORRESPONDENCE COURSE: A class where students receive lessons in the mail and send completed assignments to instructors. Correspondence is an example of independent study. See Independent Study.

COURSE: Another name for "class."

COURSE EVALUATION: A survey usually given at the end of a semester. Students give their opinions about the instructor and the course.

Course Number: Numbers assigned to courses to show their level of difficulty or depth/breadth of study. A 100-level course is less difficult or broader in scope than a 200-level courses.

Credit: How schools measure students' progress toward a diploma or a degree. For a semester, three hours of credit for one college class is common.

Curriculum: The available courses in a program of study.

Dean: The highest officer of a division, college, or school, such as Dean of Education.

Declare a Major: Officially tell a college your major, or area of study. See Major.

Deferred Admission: A college may accept a student but then allow the student to delay coming to the school for one year.

Deficiency Points: These indicate unsatisfactory classwork. Students with these can be put on academic probation or dismissed from school.

Degree: After finishing a program of study at a college, students receive an academic title, for example, a Bachelor of Arts degree from XYZ University.

Department: A specific area of study in a larger college or school. For example, French is a department in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Diploma: An official piece of paper given by colleges and high schools to students when they complete a specific course of study.

Discipline: A field of study. See Major.

Discussion Section: Some classes have two types of meetings. One is when the professor lectures. The other, the discussion section, is when a small group of students meets to discuss the lecture. Discussions are usually led by a graduate student called an Assistant Instructor or Teaching Assistant.

Dismissal: Students can be dismissed or expelled for consistently poor grades or breaking rules.

Distance Education: Classes taught over satellite or local television, through the Internet, by video tape or CD ROM, and by correspondence. Some may be regularly scheduled; others may be taken when most convenient for the student's schedule.

Distributive Requirements: See General Education Requirements.

Doctorate: The highest university degree, also called a doctorate or doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.). Physicians receive a Medical Doctorate (M.D.), while lawyers receive a Juris Doctorate (J.D.)

Dorm: Dormitory. See Residence Hall.

Double Major: Meet requirements for two majors. See Major.

Dual or Concurrent Enrollment: Some colleges enroll high achieving high school students in college courses that may fulfill both high school and college graduation requirements. Students need the permission from the high school principal or guidance counselor and admission to a college.

Early Admission: Students can take the necessary standardized tests and apply early in their senior year for admission to some colleges/universities.

Elective: An optional class, instead of required.

Emeritus Faculty: Honored faculty members, usually retired from teaching.

Enroll: To officially select classes. See Registration.

Exemption: A course requirement that is fulfilled by passing an exam in the subject.

Extracurricular Activities: Activities that occur outside the classroom.

FAFSA: See Free Application For Federal Student Aid

Faculty: The teachers, professors, and instructors who teach at schools.

Federal Pell Grant: A college federal financial aid grant program. Students apply by filling out the FAFSA.

Federal Perkins Student Loan: A low-interest loan for students who show financial need. It must be repaid after graduation. Students apply by filling out the FAFSA.

Federal PLUS (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students) and/or Federal Direct PLUS: Financial aid processed through a bank, other lending agency, or college or university to help pay for college. These loans must be repaid with interest and are not deferred.

Federal Stafford Loan and Direct Ford Loan: Student financial aid processed through a bank and/or a college. A student must be enrolled in a college degree program at least part time to receive a Stafford Loan. Loans must be paid back with interest after a student leaves school. This was formerly called Guaranteed Student Loan; it requires a completed FAFSA.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): Federal grant for students with exceptional need. Apply by filling out a FAFSA.

Federal Unsubsidized Stafford/Direct Unsubsidized Ford Loan: Similar to a Federal Stafford Loan, except interest is paid by the student during college.

Fee: Money charged by a college for services provided to a student. Fees are often charged for lab materials and recreational facilities.

Fee Waiver: A written statement that says that the student does not have to pay a certain fee. Some scholarships give fee waivers for tuition.

Finals Week: Time at the end of the semester when classes do not meet and final tests are given.

Financial Aid: Federal, state, college, and private programs which help students pay for college costs. Financial aid can be in the form of grants and scholarships, loans, or work-study programs.

Financial Aid Counselor: A college staff member who helps students and parents fill out financial aid forms and processes financial aid money.

Fraternity: A group of people sharing a common interest. Academic or business fraternities may be coeducational. Social fraternities are usually for men only. See Greek Organizations, Rush, Sorority.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The required application for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Students must file their applications between January 1 and March 1 of the year the student plans to attend college.

Full-time Student: A student who carries a minimum number of credits or hours to be considered "full time" by a college. The number of credits considered to be a full-time load can vary from college to college.

4-1-4 or 4-4-1: Calendar used by some colleges. There are two regular semesters of four months, with one month long semester between or following them.

General Educational Development Tests (GED Tests): Tests that measure the knowledge and skills usually learned in high school. A person who passes the GED tests has the equivalent of a high school diploma.

General Education Requirements: Many colleges require students to take a variety of classes in different academic areas. For example, they may require a certain number of courses in science, foreign language, and math.

Geometry: Geometry comes from two Greek words meaning "earth measurement." Geometry began as a study of how to measure the Earth (as in map-making) or to measure the Earth in relation to the rest of the universe (as in astronomy). Geometry today is more a study of physical spaces in general. For example, geometry can be used to figure out the area of a house or a football field. Geometry is very important in the design and manufacturing of most products. Children's Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 8, p. 101-102, 1989.

Gift Aid: Financial aid that is not repaid, such as grants and scholarships.

Grade Point Average (GPA): A system for evaluating the overall scholastic performance of students. A student's GPA is found by dividing the sum of grade points by the number of course work credits or hours. Grades are often measured on a four-point scale in which four equals `A,' three equals `B,' etc. This is called grade points. Total points are found by multiplying the number of hours for a course by the student's grade point.

Graduate: A person who receives a certificate, degree, or diploma from a school.

Graduate Assistant (GA): A GA helps a professor with research or works for an academic department. GA's usually receive a salary and reduced tuition.

Graduate Student: A student who has received a bachelor's degree and is working on an advanced degree such as a master's or doctoral degree.

Grant: Financial aid based on student need; it is not repaid.

Greek Organizations: Social organizations named by Greek letters that students can join. These organizations often engage in social and charity events. Members of Greek organizations frequently live together in a "Greek House." See Rush, Fraternity, Sorority.

Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL): See Federal Stafford Loan.

Higher Education: See Postsecondary Education.

Holland Code: A code that categorizes a person's interests and can be used to match these interests to career possibilities.

Honoraries: Organizations to which students are nominated for membership due to high grades, outstanding school service or both.

Housing: Living arrangements for students at colleges or private secondary schools.

Humanities: The branches of learning concerned with human thought and relations, especially literature, philosophy, fine arts, and history.

Identification Card (ID): Card issued to identify a student. ID's are often required for borrowing library books or for admission into school-sponsored activities.

Independent College: A college or other school which is not supported by a state. Some independent colleges have a religious affiliation or are single sex schools.

Independent Study: Studying a subject for credit but not in an organized class. Examples are correspondence courses, video or computer instruction, and student-instructor meetings. See Correspondence Course.

Individualized Major: See Student-designed Major.

Informational Interview: An interview to find out about a job or career, such as the training needed for it and the responsibilities of it.

Institution: An established organization; in the education field, it is a school, college, or university.

Instructor: A non-tenured teacher at a school. See Tenure.

Intercollegiate: Any competition or activity taking place between different colleges.

Interdisciplinary: Programs or courses using knowledge from two or more academic areas.

Interest Inventory: An exercise or set of exercises used to identify possible areas of career fit.

Internship: Class credit given to students who work at jobs on or off campus. Students get practical experience in their major.

Intramural Sports: Athletic activities between a school's students.

Job Shadowing: Time spent (a few hours or a day) with someone who is at work. This time is used to better understand what people do in that job.

Junior College: Colleges that offer programs (usually two years or less for full-time students) that prepare students for immediate employment, or for transfer to college or university offering bachelor's degrees.

Language House: A student residence where a foreign language is spoken. Students who want to learn German might live in a "German house."

Liberal Arts: A school or course of study which focuses on developing students' general knowledge and reasoning ability instead of a specific career; the result is often considered to be a well-rounded, general education in the arts and sciences.

Loan: Financial aid that must be repaid with interest after a student leaves school.

Major: Subject areas such as anthropology, economics, or geology in which students take many classes; an area of interest in which students earn a degree.

Master's Degree: An advanced college degree earned after a bachelor's degree, usually taking two years for a full-time student to complete.

Matriculate: To register or enroll in a college.

Mentor: A person who gives advice and help.

Minor: An area of interest studied at the same time as a major. It is rarely in the same department as a major and requires fewer classes than a major.

National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students: A scholarship program for African-Americans only, similar to the National Merit Scholarships and based on junior year PSAT scores. See National Merit Scholarships.

National Direct Student Loan (NDSL): See Federal Perkins Student Loan.

National Merit Scholarships: These competitive scholarships are limited in number and are offered by corporations and colleges. Winners are determined by PSAT scores and other criteria.

Need Analysis Form: A form, filled out by the student and/or family members, used to determine the amount of financial aid the student can receive. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a need analysis form. See FAFSA.

NMSQT: See National Merit Scholarships, Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Nontransferable Degree: A degree, usually an associate's degree, that cannot be counted as credit toward more education, like a bachelor's degree, at the same or a different college. See Transferable Degree.

Occupational Outlook: A prediction of the number of job openings there will be at a certain time for specific jobs.

Occupational Training: Education and training to prepare the student for a particular occupation.

Office Hours: In education, hours set aside by an instructor to meet with students.

Ombudsperson: In education, a person who acts on behalf of students and others in the school community who have difficulties with the school.

On-the-job Training: Training provided for employees while they are learning a job; employee creates a product or provides a service, while being trained.

Open Admission Policy (Open Door Policy): Admission policy where anyone with a high school diploma or its equivalent can take classes.

Orientation: Programs to help new students and parents get to know a school. Orientation usually takes place before or at the beginning of the school year.

Ph.D.: See Doctorate.

Part-time Student: A student enrolled in a number of course credits or hours that are less than full time. Usually, this is less than twelve credits or hours a semester.

Phi Beta Kappa: A national honor society recognizing academic excellence in liberal arts. See Honoraries.

Philanthropy: An organization that donates time and money. A philanthropic organization may donate money or service to organizations and individuals.

Physics: The science of the properties and interactions of matter and energy.

PLAN: A test taken to prepare for the ACT. See American College Testing Program and Standardized Admissions Tests.

Portfolio: A file of materials created by a student that displays and explains skills, talents, experiences and knowledge gained throughout life.

Postsecondary Education: Education after high school at a public, independent, technical, community or junior college or university.

Pre-admission Summer Program: College programs offered to freshmen before fall classes. Courses may be skill-building or regular college classes.

Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT): A high school test that measures verbal and math skills and prepares students for the SAT I. It determines eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship. See Scholastic Assessment Test.

Preprograms: Course sequences for undergraduate students to prepare them for graduate work in the same area. Examples include prelaw and premedicine.

Prerequisite: Beginning class that prepares students for a more difficult class.

Private College: See Independent College.

Probation: Status given to students whose GPA falls below a certain minimum level; varies at schools.

Professor: A teacher at a college.

Profile Application: A supplemental application required by some schools for school-based financial aid. This form must be completed and mailed to the College Scholarship Service. The deadline is the same as for the FAFSA, although some colleges require it earlier.

Program: Set of required courses for a degree in a major area of study.

Proprietary Schools: Colleges that are run as profit-making institutions. These colleges provide students with practical training in specific fields.

Prospectus: A booklet of general information about a college or program.

Provost: The college chief academic officer who is responsible for faculty and courses.

PSAT: See Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Public College: College or other school supported by the state; the state pays part of the school's operation costs.

Quad: Group of residence halls or academic buildings, usually four in number.

Quarter: A calendar used by some colleges. The quarter school year is broken down into four distinct periods, each lasting 10 to 12 weeks.

Quiet Floor/Hours: Part of a dormitory or hours during the day where students are expected to maintain a very low noise level.

Reading Days: Days between the end of classes and beginning of final exams. Students use these days to prepare for final exams.

Registrar: Person in a school who manages class schedules and academic records.

Registration: Officially enrolling in classes for the upcoming grading period.

Religious Affiliation: Private colleges associated with religious organizations. For example, the University of Notre Dame is affiliated with the Catholic Church.

Remedial Course: A course that teaches skills that are needed to succeed in college courses. Many students learn these skills in high school. These skills are in the areas of math, writing, reading, etc.

Requirements: A set of conditions that must be met in order to do something, such as be accepted to a college, complete a degree, etc.

Residence Hall (Dormitory): A campus building where students live. Food service, social and educational activities are provided. Some schools require students to live in residence halls for a certain amount of time.

Residency Requirements: Most colleges require that students spend a certain amount of time on campus taking classes or living on campus. This term can also mean the minimum amount of time a student must live in the state to pay in-state tuition, which is lower than the fee paid by out-of-state students.

Resident Assistant (RA): A trained student who lives in a dormitory to coordinate programs and activities. RAs may also help students with problems in the dorm or counsel students about campus difficulties.

Rolling Admission: Schools with this admissions practice decide whether or not to admit students as soon as they receive the required materials.

Room and Board: The cost for living in residence halls or other campus housing (room) and receiving meals from the housing food service (board).

Rush: A period of time when students participate in parties and activities to get to know the members of Greek organizations on campus. Greek organizations hold rush to meet possible new members. See Greek Organizations.

SAT I: See Scholastic Assessment Test.

SAT II: See Subject Area Test.

Satisfactory Academic Progress: Completion of courses according to school standard. Satisfactory academic progress must be shown to receive financial aid and continue in the school.

School-to-Work: An effort to connect education to the work world.

Scholarship: Financial aid awarded for academic and other achievements (music, athletics, etc.). Scholarships do not have to be paid back.

Scholastic Assessment Test I (SAT I): A standardized admission test published by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). See Standardized Admissions Tests.

Semester: Calendar system used by some schools. Classes and grade reports are divided into two periods, each lasting about 15 weeks.

Sorority: A women's social organization often identified by Greek letters. See Fraternity, Greek Organizations, Rush.

Standardized Admissions Tests (SAT I, ACT, etc.): These tests are designed to measure verbal and mathematical knowledge or skills and are used to predict achievement in college. The test score may be considered along with other factors for admission to the college.

Student Activities: See Extracurricular Activities.

Student Body: All students who attend a particular school.

Student Center or Student Union: A building on campus designed for a variety of uses by students.
A bookstore, dining facilities, administrative offices, game rooms, etc. may be located here.

Student-designed Major: At some schools, students can plan an individualized major. Such programs must be approved by appropriate school administrators.

Study Abroad: Programs where students go to school for some time in another country while making regular progress toward their diplomas or degrees.

Subject Area Tests: Standardized tests given by the American College Testing Program or College Board in specific high school subjects, such as biology, a foreign language, etc. Colleges look at these test scores when making decisions about course placement or admission to a specific program. Many programs do not require these tests.

Support Services: Services provided by most colleges to help students in areas such as academics, veterans affairs, adult and special-needs.

Teaching Assistant (TA): See Assistant Instructor.

Tech Prep Courses: Classes in which material to be learned is taught in an active or applied manner.

Technical College: Colleges that offer programs (usually two years or less for full-time students) that prepare students for immediate employment, or for transfer to college or university offering bachelor's degrees. The emphasis at these colleges is usually on hands-on training in a specific career area. See Junior College.

Tenure: Guaranteed employment status given to teachers and professors after successful completion of certain requirements within a certain time period.

Trade: An occupation requiring skilled labor, such as an electrician or tool and die maker.

Transcript: The official record of a student's educational progress; it may include listings of classes, grades, major area and degrees earned.

Transfer Student: A student who changes from one school to another. Grades and credits from the first school may or may not be counted at the second. Schools may not accept all the credits earned at another school.

Transfer Program: College program that prepares students to complete the degree at another college. Often junior, community and technical colleges have transfer programs to prepare students to continue their education at colleges and universities offering bachelor's degrees. These programs usually award associate's degrees.

Transferable Degree: A degree, usually an associate's degree, that can be counted as credit toward more education, like a bachelor's degree, at the same or a different college. See Nontransferable Degree, Transfer Program.

Trigonometry: Math concerned with measurement based on triangles. It is important in geometry and in physics. Think about a fishing rod, 1 yard long, with its fishing line dropped straight into the water. The height of the rod above the water will change according to the angle between the rod and the water. This relationship between the rod's angle and its height above the water is an example of the kinds of ideas studied in trigonometry. Children's Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 18, p. 12, 1989.

Trimester: A calendar system used by some college that is made up of three 10-12 week periods.

Tuition: The cost of classes or credits at a school.

Tutor: Tutors are experienced adults or students who help others study a specific subject.

2 + 2 Program: A program offering an associate's degree that will transfer directly toward a bachelor's degree in the same field of study. These programs may be within the same college or between two colleges. May be known by other names, like DegreeLink at Indiana State University.

Unconditional Admission: Students who meet all of a school's admission standards are given this status.

Undergraduate: Student working on a bachelor's degree.

University: A postsecondary institution which has several colleges or schools, grants graduate degrees, and may have research facilities.

Upperclassperson: Student who is a junior or senior but has not yet received an undergraduate degree.

Vocational College: See Junior College, Technical College, Proprietary School.

Waiting List: A list of those students who will be admitted to a college or school only if there is space available. Students placed on a waiting list are usually notified if they are admitted, sometime in May or June.

Waiver: A requirement which is not enforced, such as class waiver or fee waiver.

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