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Student financial aid disbursement scenarios

Here are some sample student scenarios that illustrate disbursement and refund situations. Every student’s situation is different. We recommend speaking with your advisor before dropping or withdrawing from a course.

Collage of Columbia College students

Students with only student loans.

12 hours for the semester

Phoebe enrolls in 12 hours for the semester. She is registered for six credit hours in the early fall session and six credit hours in the late fall session. Her award letter has only student loans. When classes start in the fall, she attends her courses the first week. Her loan funds disburse the second week. She receives more money in excess of her tuition and fees. Because of this credit balance, her refund will be available during the third week. She will not receive additional funds during the semester. 

Three hours early fall session

Roberta enrolls in three hours for the early fall session. Roberta has applied for student loans, but because loans require a student enroll at least halftime (six hours in a semester) she isn’t eligible for the loan disbursement. Roberta attends the first weeks of the early fall session then she decides to register for the late fall session for three hours. Because she is now at least halftime and has become eligible for student loans, her funds will disburse at the next possible disbursement date.

Students with Pell grants and loans

12 hours for the semester

Roger enrolls in 12 hours for the semester. He is registered for six credit hours in the early fall session and six credit hours in the late fall session. His award letter includes loans and a Pell grant. To receive his full Pell grant, Roger must be a full-time student attending his classes. Roger attends all of his early fall session courses the first week of the session, so he is eligible to receive half of his Pell grant for those six credit hours along with all of his loans. The earliest refund date for the excess of aid after all charges are covered will be available Friday of week three. He finishes his classes in the early fall session and attends week one of the late fall session. Because he has now attended (without withdrawing) all 12 credit hours, he is eligible for the remaining half of his Pell grant. The earliest refund date for the excess of aid after all charges are covered will be available Friday of week three. This is true for the majority of students, however, each individual student’s situation may be different. 

Six hours for the semester

Daphne is registered for three credit hours in the early fall session and three credit hours in the late fall session. She has both Pell grants and loans in excess of her tuition and fees. To receive her full Pell grant, she must be a full-time student (12 credit hours for the semester). Because she is registered for three credits each session, she is considered a halftime student for the semester. She attends her classes in the early session, so a quarter of her Pell grant will be disbursed, as well as all of her loans. Her refund is available Friday of week three. She finishes her class in the early fall session and attends her late fall session classes in week one. She has attended (without withdrawing) all six credit hours she registered for the semester, so another quarter of her Pell grant disburses during the second week of the late fall session. Her refund is available Friday of week three. This is true for the majority of students, however, each individual student’s situation may be different. 

How withdrawal may affect Pell grants

Nine hours for the semester

Francis is registered for six credit hours in the early fall session and three credit hours in the late fall session and has Pell grants. To receive her full Pell grant, she must be a full-time student attending her classes, so she is currently not eligible to receive a full Pell grant. During week two, her Pell grant disburses for the two classes she attended. Francis withdraws during week four from both classes but confirms she will be coming back. Francis comes back in the late fall session and attends her class in week one. Withdrawals do not count toward enrollment, so the six credit hours from the early fall session do not count toward her Pell grant eligibility. Because Francis received Pell for six credit hours and is only attending three hours, she will incur a balance on her account.

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