The eagerly awaited disbursement of financial aid refunds is upon us! The first round of financial aid refund checks will be available this Friday, January 27th. This is a heady time of dizzying highs and bitter lows, depending on whether students’ hopes of finding a refund check waiting for them at the Bursar are realized or dashed. Well, maybe it isn’t quite that dramatic, but the point is that you can avoid this refund-related stress by understanding some basic information about the process.
- Timing and Pick-Up – Because financial aid is contingent upon a student’s enrollment, we have to wait until after the Add Drop period has ended before we can begin to disburse financial aid refunds. After Add Drop, refund checks are cut weekly on Fridays. Generally, checks are available for pick-up after Noon on Fridays until the following Monday morning, when unclaimed checks are mailed to the students’ permanent home address. Refunds checks should be picked up at the Bursar’s Office, on the 3rd floor of St. Joseph Hall. After the Bursar closes at 3:00 PM, the checks are available at the Student Solution Center desk until 4:30 PM.
- Refund Versus Credit On Your Account – Once you accept your financial aid package, many types of aid will be applied to your student bill before the funds are actually disbursed the College. These pending sources of financial aid appear on the bill under the heading of “Memos and Authorizations.” When the pending Memos and Authorizations exceed the charges on the bill, the resulting amount due will reflect a credit (indicated by a dollar amount with a minus sign after it). It is important to understand that a credit on your account does not mean you will receive a refund check. Refunds are processed only after there is an actual overpayment on your account, i.e. after the pending funds have actually been disbursed to the College.
- The Good News and the Bad News – this distinction between anticipated and received funds means that most of the first round of refund checks available this Friday will be for Graduate students (whose financial aid consists largely of Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan funds that have now been received by the College). Undergraduate students with more diversified financial aid packages that include things like institutional grants and scholarships will have to wait a bit longer. Most undergraduate sources of aid should pay to the students’ accounts this Friday and therefore many Undergraduate financial aid refunds will be available next Friday, February 3rd.
- Check the Status of Your Refund In the Secure Site – Log in to the Secure Site with your student ID number and PIN and navigate to the Student Account Center. First, check to see whether there is an actual overpayment on your account as opposed to a credit based upon Memos and Authorizations. If there is an overpayment, you will likely have a refund available on Friday. Once an overpayment on your student account generates a refund check, the amount will be listed as a separate line item on your student bill, labeled as “Refund“. If you think you will have a refund coming, it’s a good idea to check online Friday morning to see if a “Refund” line item has posted to your account.
- Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Pick Up Your Refund – there are always exceptions to the rules and one important exception for Undergraduate refunds concerns students whose Parents have borrowed a PLUS loan. If an overpayment to a student’s account is primarily generated by a Parent PLUS loan, then the refund check will be issued to the parent and mailed home directly. PLUS loan refunds are produced on Tuesdays. The parent can, however, direct the Bursar to make the check available for the student.
If you have any questions about whether you will have a financial aid refund, please contact us in the Student Solution Center. However, I’d encourage you to take a look at your account first. If your account doesn’t meet your expectations, then you can be proactive about sorting it out. Many times a discrepancy on your account is a sign that there are outstanding requirements with your financial aid package. Better to catch these issues early! Hopefully everything will be in perfect order. In this case, you still develop a better understanding of your student bill and your financial aid package.