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Financial aid funds are paid out to students at the beginning of the semester as long as the student is registered for classes and financial aid awards have been accepted.

What to expect of the disbursement process

About 10 days before the start of the term, the Financial Aid Office begins disbursing awarded aid. 

Aid is paid directly to the student’s billing account and is used to pay the balance on the semester bill. 

Depending on the bill amount and the aid award(s) that the student has accepted, the student may still need to pay a balance to the Cashiers Office before disbursement. This balance must be paid by the posted payment deadline or the student may be dropped from their classes. 

If a student’s aid disbursement exceeds the total amount on their bill, the student will be issued a refund. 

Refunds will be issued by the Cashiers Office by mail or direct deposit, usually a few days before the first day of classes. For more information about refunds and setting up payment preferences, visit the Refunds page.

What aid disbursement covers

Federal financial aid can only be paid toward tuition, fees, housing, and meal plan charges. Students must submit a Title IV Authorization form to allow federal  aid to also pay against other charges on the bill, such as parking passes. Without a Title IV Authorization, charges not covered by federal aid will remain the student’s responsibility and must be paid out-of-pocket.

Timing for part-of-term courses

Part-of-term courses take place within the semester, usually for 7 or 10 weeks. A student in a part-of-term course may not begin class until partway through the semester, which can impact when funds will be applied to the student account and when refunds will be available. A student needs to achieve half-time enrollment for most aid to pay out. 

Here’s an example: If a student is registered for a total of 12 hours during the semester (fall, spring, or summer) they will be awarded based on those total hours. The student’s course schedule shows they are enrolled in 3 credit hours for the full term and the remaining 9 credit hours for part-of-term courses that start halfway through the semester. This student’s funds, specifically federal loans, will not be paid to the student account until they have started at least 6 hours (part time) of coursework. A reduced or prorated amount of the Pell Grant may be disbursed at the beginning of the semester, however, the aid will not be fully disbursed until their part-of-term courses begin.

Troubleshooting: Reasons for delayed or reduced disbursement

Avoid delays in financial aid disbursement or last minute changes to funds being paid out. Students should check the following items and make any necessary updates before the bill payment due date.

  1. Update mailing address and/or banking information in UNCGenie to ensure refunds are sent correctly.
  2. Verify that your status with the Cashiers Office is listed as “Confirmed for Payment.” This means that you’ve made arrangements to pay any outstanding balance on your student account not covered by financial aid. Financial aid funds will not be paid to your account if you have not made these arrangements.
  3. Check that enrollment is at least half-time. Half-time is the minimum to receive most types of aid, so students with late schedule changes or who are repeating coursework may become ineligible for aid. 
  4. Complete all Master Promissory Note (MPN) and/or Entrance Counseling for loans. New students should ensure they have accepted the loan in UNCGenie AND taken care of MPN and Entrance counseling requirements by 3 weeks prior to the billing deadline. 
  5. Check Satisfactory Academic Progress in UNCGenie. Students who fail to meet a minimum GPA or other academic markers may lose their aid eligibility. Students can submit an appeal. 

Plan ahead for the health insurance premium. Students who do not waive out of the student health insurance plan will be charged for it on their bill. Opting out of student insurance can take up to 10 days to process, so submit a waiver early to avoid problems.