For any college student the financial aid process can seem overwhelming and tiring. Lately, there has been a bit of confusion regarding refunds and financial aid here at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, so I thought I would try and clarify some of the issues.

Most students are expecting a refund because they received financial aid, but paid more on their initial tuition charges or they paid for their classes and received another payment type on a later date.

While the Financial Aid Office (FAO) disburses funds to student’s accounts they are not responsible for getting the funds directly to the student. The Cashier’s Office (CO) is the one responsible for getting students their refunds.

After the FAO disburses funds to students’ accounts, the CO then runs a computer program that adds the student to an upcoming refund run. The CO runs the program twice a week to check for refunds.

The type of refund can greatly affect the amount of time that it takes to get the refund back.
Noel Hornbacher, Director of Financial Services, says that “The fastest way to get a refund back is to set your account up to direct deposit, as mail makes it go slower.”

If you are expecting a mailed refund check, expect it to arrive in your mailbox between 10-21 business days. However, if you are receiving a direct deposit refund, you will see it back within five business days.

Hornbacher gave some possible explanations for refund delays as “A packaging issue or verification issue.” He says that he is “personally pleased with the speed that the refunds are being given at.”

According to the CO’s website, if it has been longer than 21 business days for a mail refund or five days for a direct deposit, students should contact the Cashier’s Office as most refunds that go missing are “a result of old/incorrect mailing addresses on file or the direct deposit banking info was entered incorrectly.”

While this may not answer everyone’s direct questions, I hope it clarifies the issues for the majority.