Your annual financial aid award is divided, usually into thirds, for Fall, Winter and Spring terms. Each term your aid will disburse/post to your student account and apply like a payment to approved charges (see requirements below). Any financial aid not applied to charges will automatically refund to the student for student aid and to the parent for Parent PLUS Loans. It is important to check your balance after financial aid disburses/posts to ensure that all fees were paid. A refund to your bank account does not guarantee that all charges have been paid.
Financial Aid applies in the following order:
- Registration and Tuition Fees
- On-Campus Housing
- Freshman Dining Plan
If your charges are approved for payment by financial aid, the due dates are extended or ‘deferred’ until the term’s financial aid disbursement date (usually the week before the term begins).
Review your amount of ‘accepted’ financial aid from the link on the ‘Money Matters’ tab for comparison to required amounts. Non-disbursable aid such as Federal Work Study or Outside Scholarships not yet received by Cal Poly are excluded for comparison purposes as the funds are not accessible to apply directly to charges. Outside Scholarships become disbursable once Cal Poly's Financial Aid Office has recorded the check or transfer of funds as received.
Complete required ‘To Do’ list items for your financial aid to prevent delays in aid disbursement and holds.
Financial aid is ‘earned’ based upon enrollment, so changes in enrolled units or withdrawals may impact financial aid amounts.
Direct deposit is required for student financial aid refunds. New students can setup direct deposit after they are enrolled via the ‘Direct Deposit’ link on the ‘Money Matters’ tab of the student portal.
With the exception of summer term, the first direct deposit refunds for each term (the date that you will receive the funds in your bank account) is the day before the term begins. Refunds are processed twice a week thereafter.
Requirements to defer/apply financial aid to:
Registration and Tuition Fees
Registration and Tuition Fees are automatically deferred for students with disbursable aid awarded at Cal Poly. No formal request required. Non-disbursable aid such as Federal Work Study or Outside Scholarships not yet received by Cal Poly are excluded and do not defer fees or exclude students from Class Cancellation.
On-Campus Housing and Dining
In order for your Financial Aid to defer any of your Housing costs for the quarter, you must have been offered and accepted enough aid to cover all of your Registration and Tuition fee balances first. Financial Aid can only be used to defer Dining charges if you have been offered and accepted enough aid to cover All Registration and Tuition balances and 100% of Housing balances for that quarter. If you want to receive a Financial Aid Refund, you must have been offered and accepted financial aid in excess of ALL Registration and Tuition fees as well as 100% of both Housing and Dining charges for that quarter.
Once Housing and Dining Charges have posted (in early August), the phrase 'Deferred by Financial Aid' will appear next to each balance amount (on both Money Matters and Share My Information) once you have accepted enough disbursable financial aid. This will indicate that the Due Date for the first payment of that quarter is extended until financial aid disburses. For Fall 2019, that would mean that the September 1st installment on Housing or Dining would not have to be paid until after your aid has applied to those charges for that quarter.
Charges not eligible for payment by financial aid
Financial aid will not apply to Health Center charges, housing miscellaneous charges, library fines or other non-instructional related charges. These charges require personal payment.