If you are a student who is receiving student loans and have elected to have any extra funds returned to you in the form of a credit balance refund, you may have asked at one point or another; where is my refund? Listed below are a few things that may be beneficial for you to know about the financial aid refund process.
The first thing you want to ensure is that there is nothing outstanding on your end. There are certain items that need to be completed and if you have missed any one of them, you may not receive a credit balance refund as soon as expected. Here are the top three:
- Entrance Counseling is a must, it provides you with an in-depth overview of how direct loans work, your rights as a student loan borrower, and other tools necessary to manage your student loans;
- No student loans will be disbursed without a Master Promissory Note (MPN) which again states what your rights and responsibilities are as a student loan borrower; it is a legal document that you sign indicating that you acknowledge the debt and that you promise to repay your student loans on time and in full along with any accrued interest;
- You must be meeting your school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy, based on the Department of Education’s regulations that all students must follow in order to maintain eligibility for student loans. The basic elements for SAP are how often it is evaluated, a qualitative component to include your GPA, and quantitative, which consists of the maximum period in which a student must complete their program. Refer to your institution’s student handbook for more detailed information.
If you believe you may have missed any of these items, the best course of action would be to reach out to your Financial Aid Department for clarification.
So, you know that you have completed all of these items, but your question remains: where is my refund? If you are a first time borrower, the process of receiving a refund may take a little longer and in some institutions, even if you are not a first time borrower but it is your first time attending that institution, the time frame may still take a little longer than if you were an established student.
How is this time frame broken down? It generally takes up to 30 days for the institution to receive the funds from the Department of Education and according to the Department of Education’s guidelines, the institution will return any excess funds (credit refund) to the student within 14 days thereafter. The whole process can take up to 45 days. Each institution handles the credit refund balances a little differently so it is important to check your student handbook and see how your institution has chosen to handle credit balance refunds.
As always, if you still have questions that remain unanswered regarding the credit balance refund you should contact your Financial Aid Department for assistance.
By Michelle Robbins
Default Prevention and Compliance Specialist, American Public University