The start of yet another college/training school year is upon us. If you’re one of the many students who have completed your Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) and are anxiously waiting for your federal financial aid funds to be transferred to your student account (to help pay your tuition, fees and books), here’s a little advice – be patient. There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your financial aid is moving. First, know that it is your college or training school that distributes your financial aid to your school, and your school will put it on your student account. They all work a little different but are likely to follow these general guidelines:
When: Disbursements are usually made at the beginning of the fall semester and beginning of the spring semester (trimesters or quarters if you are not on a semester system).
For Grants, Scholarships, and Student Loans: In most cases, the college/training program applies your federal grants, loans, and scholarship money directly toward your tuition, fees, and room and board (if you live on campus.) If any money is left over, it will be disbursed to you, usually by check or direct deposit if you are set up for direct deposit. The same applies for money left over if you are living off campus so that it can be applied towards other college or living expenses.
If you’ve accepted a federal student loan, remember the following:
- Make sure you’ve completed your entrance loan counseling and signed your master promissory note (MPN). You can do that by clicking on the hyperlinks or going to: www.studentloans.gov. You will need your FSA ID to login.
- If you are a first-year undergraduate and first-time borrower, you may be required to wait 30 days after the enrollment period. Check with your postsecondary institution.
- If you decide you do not want to use your federal loan money, after it’s been disbursed, you can cancel your loan within 120 days and no fees or interest will be charged. Check with your financial aid office for more information about this process. There may be requirements to pay back or return the loan money that was disbursed.
Some state and private grants, scholarships, and loans may require certification from the college/training program that the student is enrolled and attending. So, its possible funds may not be awarded until after the drop/add deadline.
- If a parent has taken a federal PLUS loan out on behalf of their student, the funds are usually disbursed directly into the student’s account to pay for all authorized charges.
- If money is left over, it will be disbursed to the parent unless permission has been granted to give the leftover money to the student.
- Unless a six month deferment is requested during the application process, and approved, payments for PLUS loans begin shortly after the first disbursement.
Unlike other financial aid, work-study funds are earned through hourly wages as part of employment, just like any other job. Work-study funds come to you through an employer (almost always on-campus) who hires work-study students. Click here for more information on work-study.
If you have any questions about your disbursement or about your financial aid funds, contact your Financial Aid Office.