In college terms, the word “refund” can have several meanings:
1) Financial Aid Refunds: If your financial aid, scholarships, and loans add up to more than you need for tuition and fees, you can receive the excess amount in the form of a “refund.” Refunds are disbursed around 30 days after the start of each semester. Jump to Financial Aid Refunds
2) Other Refunds: If you paid tuition out-of-pocket (with cash, a check, or a credit card), and you drop a class, you will receive back the money you paid in tuition. Jump to Other Refunds
You may receive an overage if your financial aid, scholarships, and loans amount to more money than you need for your tuition and fees. This amount is intended to cover your other educational costs including books, transportation, equipment, rent (if you live off-campus), etc. You can choose whether to accept the refund or return it.
If you borrow more in student loans that you need to cover tuition and fees, you may receive the excess in the form of a refund. We take great pride in creating access to debt-free college degrees. In fact, 76% of our students take on zero student loan debt in a year. We’re here to help you get to graduation with the least amount of debt possible.
Student Loan Refunds: Loan refunds are paid out roughly 30 days after the start of the semester. You can review your student loan offers in your Financial Aid Award Letter in Financial Aid Self-Service. In Financial Aid Self-Service, you can accept loans, turn down loans, or accept a lower amount.
Student loan refunds can be useful for educational expenses such as books, transportation, rent/utilities, licensing or testing fees, childcare, equipment, conference attendance, or replacing income for an unpaid internship related to your academic career.
Reducing Debt: However, loans do represent money that will have to be paid back with interest. Unsubsidized loans, Parent PLUS loans or private loans will begin accruing interest this year. This can have a negative effect on your future.
Don't forget to check out Scholarships for alternate sources of tuition funding, and Fill out the FAFSA to access state and federal grant money. And contact Essential Needs if you need help with financial hardships like housing or food insecurity.
When will I receive my refund?
- Overages are disbursed around 30 days after the start of the semester. Don't forget to plan ahead for non-educational expenses such as rent, transportation, and child care.
- If tuition, fees, and bookstore charges are greater than your financial aid award, you will not receive an overage.
- You must be attending class and meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress eligibility requirements to receive a disbursement. View Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.
How do I receive my refund?
There are three ways to receive a refund:
- Direct deposit: The quickest option is to refund via direct deposit - Sign up for Direct Deposit on CougarWeb
- Credit cards: If you paid via credit card, your refund will go to that same card.
- If you have not set up direct deposit, we will issue refunds through the mail in the form of a check. Make sure we have your current address on file in CougarWeb.
If you paid tuition out-of-pocket (cash, check or credit card), and you drop a class, you may receive back the money you paid in tuition. The amount you receive back depends on how much of the class you complete - there is a 100% refund date and a 50% refund date. You can find refund dates on the Academic Calendar.
When are refunds paid? Tuition refunds are paid out shortly after the 50% refund date on the Academic Calendar.
These refunds will be in the form of a check, unless your tuition and fees were paid with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. If your tuition and fees were paid with a credit card, the refund will be returned to the credit card. If a debit card was used to pay tuition and fees, then the funds will be returned to that account. The funds will take up to 7 business days to appear in your account after Columbus State's refund process. Please watch for an email to be notified that the refunds have been returned to the credit card you used for tuition and fee payment.
We recommend using direct deposit to receive your refund more quickly and accurately - Sign up for Direct Deposit. If you prefer a refund by check, make sure your address is entered correctly in CougarWeb.
Note: Certain fees and charges are non-refundable once charged to your account such as the $50 Application fee, Records and ID fee, Parking Permit fee, and the Late Registration fee.
Withdrawal from classes
Students who decide to withdraw/drop classes must drop the class online through their CougarWeb account.
Withdrawing/dropping from classes or not attending classes may also affect the student's academic progress and result in termination of financial assistance. Columbus State encourages students to contact Student Central before changing enrollment status. The Financial Aid staff can provide additional information which will assist the student in making an informed decision. For more information view: Important Facts about Dropping a Class.
Returned Financial Aid (Title IV) Funds
If you are receiving Title IV aid (Pell grants and SEOG), and you completely withdraw from classes before completing the term, then unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the federal government. See Satisfactory Academic Progress
If you are paying with a 529 Plan and need a refund, we will return the money directly to you. 529 Plans are treated the same as if the student paid fees themselves. Refunds will be distributed after the 50% refund date.
Third-Party Payers or Tuition reimbursement
If your fees are paid by an outside agency or by your employer, refunds will go to that organization.
If there are documentable extenuating circumstances that prevented you from withdrawing by the deadline as designated by College policy, you may submit the Administrative Withdrawal Form.
If there are documentable extenuating circumstances which prevented you from dropping a course(s) during one of the refund periods as designated by College policy, you may submit the Tuition Adjustment Request Form for a course dropped after the 100% refund period.