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Frequently Asked Questions

Autumn Semester 2013 Financial Aid Timing Changes

What changes are coming for Autumn Semester 2013 involving financial aid?

The timing of student attendance/participation reports and the release of financial aid refunds will be changing. Starting Autumn Semester 2013, faculty will report on student attendance/participation earlier in the semester. The first attendance/participation reporting period will begin around the third week of the semester. Release of financial aid credit balances will follow processing of that first faculty report, beginning between the 5th and 6th weeks.For Autumn Semester 2013, remaining credit balances should be released by Sept. 30.

Will the changes impact the release of funding applied to tuition and fees or the book allowance?

No, that funding will be available before the semester begins in order to pay these important educational expenses.

Will the total amount of my financial aid award be impacted by the timing changes?

No, it won't; only the timing of the refund of your remaining eligible financial aid funds will be affected. Starting Autumn Semester 2013, refunds of any financial aid funds (minus tuition, fees and book allowance charges) will occur shortly after the first attendance/participation report is processed. For Autumn Semester 2013, remaining credit balances should be released by Sept. 30.

Do the changes apply to Veterans Education Benefits?

Receipt of Veterans Education Benefits will not be affected in any way by the timing changes.

If the first student attendance/participation report is taken starting the 3rd week of the semester, why aren't financial aid credit balances released until several weeks later?

Processing the student progress report is a multi-step operation. After the faculty reports are received, they go through an audit and verification procedure. Once that's completed, Columbus State requests federal financial aid funds from the U.S. Department of Education for approximately 13,000 recipients. The Cashiers and Student Accounting Department then begins the processing work that leads to issuing refunds to students. This last operation takes approximately 5 business days before refunds are issued. Financial aid refunds are issued within 14 days of the credit balance posting to the student account. Once the refund is issued, each student will receive an email titled "CSCC Refund Notification."

Why is the college making these changes?

Columbus State is implementing these timing changes to: 1) promote student success, 2) minimize student debt, 3) align our procedures with government recommendations and best practices at colleges across the country, and 4) maintain the integrity of public funds used for financial aid.

Historically, the college has issued financial aid refunds prior to confirming a student's attendance and participation in class. Government research has shown that students who are actively involved in coursework for 30 days or more tend to remain engaged and succeed. So, by confirming student engagement earlier in the semester and releasing funds to those likely to continue their studies, the college facilitates student success. Meanwhile, those students reported as not attending/participating are dropped from their classes following the first faculty report, their financial aid is adjusted, and they incur no additional loan debt. This minimizes student debt to the college (and others) and maintains good stewardship over the public monies used to fund federal financial aid.

More on How & Why

Is Columbus State the only college making these timing modifications?

No, most other community colleges in Ohio, as well as many public collges and universities across the nation, have already implemented similar changes. These changes align Columbus State with best practices at these institutions and with recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education and the American Association of Community Colleges.

I have been a successful student and responsible financial aid recipient. Why do I have to wait longer for my remaining funds to be released?

The college recognizes that issuing financial aid refunds after confirming class attendance/participation may be an inconvenience at first, but, ultimately, it will benefit everyone. By releasing funds only to those students who can continue their studies, we help academically ready students succeed and prevent those who can't or don't continue from getting into debt to the college. This practice aligns Columbus State with financial aid procedures in place at other Ohio community college and makes us better stewards of the public monies used to fund financial aid.

What will I be expected to do to manage these changes successfully?

Tips for managing your Financial Aid 

What financial aid timings will remain unchanged?

The Columbus State Bookstore allowance (up to $800) will still be available ahead of the semester.

Also, tuition and fees (including parking permit, lab fees, and the one-time Application/Records/ID Fee) can still be paid ahead of the fee payment deadline from a student's eligible aid funding. As in the past, instructors will still report student progress at the 61% point of the semester.

More on what will & won't change

How will my instructors be involved?

Faculty will be evaluating student attendance/participation earlier than in the past. They will look at attendance, participation, and completion of course assignments in reporting a student as "progressing." Financial aid refunds will be issued to eligible recipients following processing of the first student attendance/participation report, taken starting the 3rd week of the semester.

If I receive financial aid, how will the changes impact me?

In the past, you received any financial aid refunds prior to the first student attendance/participation report. From Autumn Semester 2013 on, refunds will be released to eligible student accounts following processing of the first attendance/participation report. Release of financial aid refunds will begin between the 5th and 6th weeks of the semester. For Autumn Semester 2013, remaining credit balances should be released by Sept. 30.

If I don't receive federal financial aid, will the changes impact me?

As a student here, if you receive a scholarship, your refund will be issued at the same time as that of financial aid recipients. As a student and taxpayer, you should know that the coming changes will help maintain the integrity of public funds used for financial aid, ensuring that the funds go to students using them to achieve academic success. This, in turn, helps keep tuition affordable because student debt to the college is reduced, freeing additional dollars for programs and services.

Is the college accruing interest by delaying refunding of the remaining credit balances?

Columbus State does not earn interest off of federal aid funds. By law, the college is strictly prohibited from doing so. The government does not release financial aid funds to the college until just prior to the refund period. All Federal Student Aid funds are placed in a separate, non-interest bearing, account prior to being refunded to students.

If I have additional questions regarding these changes, where can I get answers?

Email your question to For general financial aid questions/information (awards, verification, appeals, etc.), call the Financial Aid Office, (614) 287-2648 or visit the Customer Service Windows on the lower level of Rhodes Hall, Columbus Campus, or Student Services on the Delaware Campus.