Disbursement and Refund of Financial Aid Funds
Financial aid disbursement transactions are recorded on your student account as credits, just like a payment. Any eligible unpaid charges (such as registration fees) are paid by your aid. Any remaining aid will show as a credit balance. A refund of your remaining financial aid is then generated and delivered to you, either by direct deposit, if you have signed up for direct deposit, or by check. Cal Poly will attempt to notify you - via email - when your refund is on its way.
Review the Financial Aid Disbursement and Refund Process Flowchart.
|1st Financial Aid Disbursement
|1st Direct Deposit Refund for Excess Financial Aid
|Financial Aid Disbursement
|Direct Deposit Refund for Excess Financial Aid
|Check Mail Date
*Tentative-date may change
View Account Activity Through Your Portal
PLEASE READ: Financial aid funds will be used to pay eligible charges posted in the term the funds are being disbursed in (fall financial aid will pay only eligible fall charges, etc.). This means that even though you are receiving a financial aid refund, you may still have a balance due from a previous term, or in a miscellaneous charge in your current term, that financial aid is not authorized to pay. Please review your account on a regular basis and pay all remaining charges once your financial aid has been refunded. Please contact the Student Accounts Office if you have questions: 805-756-1428.
Up-To-Date View Of Your Student Account Balance (Includes an On Line Payment Link):
- Log on to portal.
- Click on the Money Matters tab.
- Under the Payment Summary column, go to the STUDENT ACCOUNT BALANCE section.
- Click on the View Account Activity link. This will take you to your Account Activity page.
- Transactions on your Account Activity page are referenced in date order - with the most recent transactions first. They are then placed in one of three columns:
- Charges (anything you have to pay);
- Payments** (any credit transaction that lowers the amount due); and
- Refunds (money we are giving back to you by direct deposit (DD), or check (AP)).
- Please feel free to contact the Student Accounts Office at (805)756-1428 if you have questions.
Make sure you keep your HOME & MAILING addresses up-to-date on the portal (Personal Info tab).
** On line payments made using a HOUSING option will pay only housing charges. Payments made using a DINING option will pay only dining charges.
Federal Parent (PLUS) Loan Refund Processing:
Federal regulation requires Cal Poly to obtain the parent's written authorization for excess Parent PLUS loan funds to be refunded to the student (via direct deposit or check). In the absence of the parent's written authorization, excess Parent PLUS loan funds will be mailed to the parent each affected term - using the mailing address provided on the Parent PLUS loan application. Please use one of the following options to expedite the Parent PLUS loan refund:
- Parents who want the excess Parent PLUS loan funds to go to the student each term should download, complete and fax the Authorization Form to the Student Accounts Office: fax 805-756-2774.
- Parents who want the excess Parent PLUS loan funds to be mailed back to them each term (sorry, direct deposit is not available for these types of transactions) to an address that is different than the mailing address provided on the Parent PLUS loan application should contact the Cal Poly Financial Aid Office with their change of mailing address.
Direct Deposit Refund
If you have signed up for direct deposit service, then whenever left-over financial aid funds need to be refunded to you, they are delivered electronically to your bank by direct deposit . An email notice is sent to you telling you to view the Direct Deposit transaction on your portal (use the account activity view instructions provided at the top of this page). The actual funds should be in your bank account and ready to spend approximately 3 business days after the date of the "DD" (direct deposit) transaction on your Account Activity page.
How to Signup for Direct Deposit
Beginning of the Term Direct Deposit Refund
Direct deposit of financial aid for a new term is generally in your bank account by the Friday before the first day of class, providing all requirements have been met for disbursement. The minimum unit requirement for direct deposit generation during add/drop is 7 units. After add/drop, it is 6 units. (If you have left-over financial aid funds on your account and you are enrolled in less than the minimum required units but still eligible to receive your aid, you will need to contact the Student Accounts Office and request that your refund be 'forced'.)
***Direct deposit sign-up is now a requirement. To avoid unnecessary refund delays, sign up NOW***
Financial Aid Refund Check
If you are NOT set up for direct deposit, a financial aid refund check will be generated whenever left-over financial aid funds need to be refunded to you. An email notice is sent to you telling you to view the refund transaction on your my.calpoly portal (use the account activity view instructions provided at the top of this page). The refund check will be mailed to you approximately 3 business days after the date of the "AP" (accounts payable) transaction on your Account Activity screen . Cal Poly STRONGLY advises its students to sign up for direct deposit because we cannot guarantee a refund check delivery date. The Student Accounts Office requires a 2 week waiting period before a check can be reported as "lost". Replacement checks will take an additional two weeks to receive.
Beginning of the Term Financial Aid Refund Check
Your financial aid check for a new term will be mailed to your mailing address, as noted on the portal, approximately 2 days before the first day of classes, assuming all financial aid disbursement requirements** have been met, . When you actually receive the check depends on the postal system.
**The minimum unit requirement for check generation during add/drop is 7 units. After add/drop, it is 6 units. (If you have left-over financial aid funds on your account and you are enrolled in less than the minimum required units but still eligible to receive your aid, you will need to contact the Student Accounts Office and request that your financial aid refund be 'forced'.)
If Your Refund Check is "Lost in the Mail", Misplaced, or Destroyed
Cal Poly STRONGLY advises its students to sign up for direct deposit because we cannot guarantee a refund check delivery date. The Student Accounts Office requires a 2 week waiting period before a check can be reported as "lost". Replacement checks will take an additional two weeks to receive.
***Direct deposit is Strongly recommended. However, if you choose to have your financial aid refund mailed instead, it is your responsibility to keep your MAILING addresses up-to-date on the portal (Personal Info tab)***
Some types of financial aid cannot be deposited into a student's Cal Poly account. This type of aid will need to be picked up at the Student Accounts Office window during regular disbursement hours.
Some financial aid funds WILL appear on your student account, but cannot be direct deposited automatically.
Below are examples of the types of financial aid funds that cannot be direct deposited automatically. In all cases, Cal Poly will attempt to notify the student by email:
Because there is a Promissory Note that needs to be signed by the student before the funds can be disbursed, the student is required to pick up the Emergency Loan funds in person.
Private Loans Mailed to Cal Poly by Lenders:
Some private loan lenders send paper checks to the campus by mail. The student is informed by their loan lender (by mail) of the approximate disbursement date. Upon arrival, these checks cannot be direct deposited and must be picked up at the Student Accounts Office during check disbursement hours. Students receiving such a loan will be notified by the Student Accounts Office by email when their checks are ready for them. NOTE: Students should use the disbursement date given by the lender as "approximate" only.
The following off-campus programs require us to send the financial aid disbursement by check directly to the program's coordinator: Intrasystem Visitor; National Student Exchange (NSE) - Outgoing Plan B; and Intrasystem Concurrent. The respective coordinator will then disburse the check to the student, per program guidelines. Financial aid students participating in one of the aforementioned programs must download, complete, and submit a Transmittal of Funds request form to the Student Accounts Office.