By Christian Griffin- Editor
You have planned your semester, signed up for classes, and finished your FAFSA/TAP/HESC. Move forward a week or so; you check your email and sign your promissory note. Did you receive a Pell grant or accept a federal loan? Did you plan to offset your finances with that money?
Here’s the thing: if you received a grant or a loan from the federal government or New York State, you need to have enough funds to make it into the semester, because payouts do not come immediately when you sign the promissory note.
All the answers to your questions can be found on the Financial Aid FAQs page from DCC’s Blackboard link, but here is a quick run down:
The federal government releases funds to the college on October 10th. Once tuition and any other charges on your account have been processed, leftover financial aid will be sent to you. The refund payouts for the fall semester begin October 20th and begin March 16th for the spring semester.
State funds, such as TAP or HESC, are quite different. As a recipient, your refund comes essentially in a first-come-first-served style. There are no definite dates the Financial Services Office could offer because dates are different for each person. After you have applied and accepted, you are put on a release roster, and your funds come to you as they are released to the school.
All refunds are processed through BankMobile–an FDIC insured institution. If you NEED the refund, you NEED to set up your refund preference. First, keep a lookout for a green envelope that will be sent to your mailing address on file at DCC. This has a Personal Code that helps set up your preference. Next, you can login through the Student Financial Services tab on Blackboard. Scroll down to “Refund.” It’s on the right. Click the link, put your code in and set it up.
There are three ways to receive your refund:
- Set up direct deposit. It will take 2-3 business days for the transfer to reach your bank account after DCC has released the funds.
- Set up a BankMobile Vibe account, a checking account with lower fees than many other banks. You can do electronic transactions. For ATM withdrawals and other transactions you will have to wait for a bank card.
- If you do not set a preference, BankMobile will hold the funds for 21 days. Then, they will send a paper check to the address on file.
- If for any reason you miss the green envelope, you can request a new code through the BankMobile link. Right on the homepage there is a link to request a code. It will ask for the school name, your school email, and you will receive an email within four hours. Check the junk folder too if it doesn’t show up. Follow the prompts and get a new code.
- There might be some scams out there trying to get a piece of your refund. Don’t activate anything you didn’t sign up for, and if you are unsure go to the Student Financial Services or contact BankMobile directly. They are your best resource for answers.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation and need to access some of your return earlier, go to the Student Financial Services Office. You can get up to $350 in the form of a short term loan– essentially an advance on your refund. They will help you, but you need to be prepared to show documentation of your need.
Financial aid refunds might be confusing and stressful, but know that there are many resources available to help you navigate the process. There are several links on Blackboard, but your best option is to visit the Student Financial Services Office located in Orcutt Student Services Center, Room 202. Call them at (845) 431-8060 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Accounting Clerks are here to help you.