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Financial Aid Refunds

When the financial aid applied to your account exceeds the amount due on your bill's Account Balance, you can request a refund of those extra funds after classes begin.

Students with a Title IV credit balance: the excess funds on your student account must be disbursed within 14 days of that credit balance being generated.  It is therefore important to set up your refund preferences prior to the term to ensure the funds are sent via your preferred method, otherwise funds will be sent to you via U.S. mail.

If you forward your refund to a non-USA bank...

There have been recent changes to the Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment system rules for direct deposit, effective September 2009. If you process a refund request via direct deposit to a U.S. bank and then have the ENTIRE amount forwarded to a bank in another country, there are new formatting requirements for the ACH transfer. These new formats are not currently available.

These changes may impact the delivery method of your refund request. If your refund transaction will be forwarded in its entirety to an account outside the U.S., you will need to select a paper check for your refund.

If your intent is to transfer only a portion of the funds from your direct deposit payment but not the entire amount, you can continue to receive your refunds by direct deposit.

Steps to receiving a refund:

1. Verify that you are eligible for a refund
Use CAESAR to check your account (CAESAR > For Students > Financial Services > View My Account). You must have a credit in your Account Balance (not Anticipated Aid) to be eligible for a refund.

2. If you have not established direct deposit, consider setting it up at this time
The quickest way to receive your refund is to sign up for direct deposit through CAESAR (CAESAR > For Students > Financial Services > Setup Direct Deposit); see step-by-step instructions: Setting Up Direct Deposit. If you are unable to use CAESAR, you may request a paper Direct Deposit form by contacting the Office of Student Accounts. If you do not have an active direct deposit authorization filed with the Office of Student Accounts, you may choose to have a refund check mailed to one of your active addresses.

3. Request a refund
Unless you are a graduate student in the Law School, Kellogg or Medill, you must request a refund each term; it is not automatically refunded. Use CAESAR (CAESAR > For Students > Financial Services > Request a Refund) to specify the refund amount (if different from your balance) and select a refund format (mail or direct deposit).

4. Receive your excess funds
When your refund has been processed, you will receive a generic e-mail notification at your Northwestern e-mail address. The amount remaining in your account is refunded to you either by a check to you or via direct deposit to your financial institution.