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Student Financial Aid

Disbursement of Your Financial Aid Funds

When and how you receive your aid depends on two things: (1) the type of aid you are receiving and (2) whether you have completed the requirements for receiving your awards. Read the information on this page carefully to find out how and when different types of financial aid are disbursed and what you must do to receive your funds.


Requirements for Receiving Your Aid

Financial aid is disbursed to students at the beginning of each term. Before your aid can be disbursed to your student billing account, you must have a financial aid award notice and you must complete the requirements below (please note some scholarships may not require a financial aid award notice to disburse).

  1. SUBMIT ANY REQUESTED DOCUMENTS: If you were asked to submit any follow-up documents for verification, you must provide them to the Office of Student Financial Aid.
    Check Your Financial Aid Status Online to view requested documents.
  2. BE ENROLLED: Enroll for a credit hour load that is at least half-time (6 credits for undergraduates, 24 units for graduate students). Students must be enrolled at least half-time to receive Loans. Keep in mind that
    • some scholarships and grants require full-time enrollment and
    • being wait-listed for a course does not count toward your enrollment level.
  3. COMPLETE LOAN PROMISSORY NOTES: Complete/sign any applicable promissory notes for your loans.
    Check Your Financial Aid Status Online to view your status.
    • If you have accepted Direct Loans, you will need to complete your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at StudentLoans.gov. If you have previously signed a Direct Loan MPN at UMCP, you do not need to sign another one to receive Direct Loan funds, see the Loans section of our web site for more information.
    • If you have accepted a Perkins Loan, you will need to complete your MPN(s) using your university directory ID and password. Check Your Financial Aid Status Online to log in and complete your Perkins Loan documents listed under "My Documents".
  4. COMPLETE ENTRANCE COUNSELING: First-time, first-year Direct Loan borrowers and Grad PLUS borrowers must complete loan entrance counseling at StudentLoans.gov. (Note: This is not the same as the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool on the same site.)

How Aid is Paid to Students (Disbursements)

Once you have completed the requirements above, you will receive your aid.

Pending Aid

To help students and parents calculate their anticipated outstanding balance or refund, Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) will place Pending Aid credit(s) on students’ billing account and e-bill for the fall and spring semesters before actual aid is disbursed. Pending Aid credits post to eligible and registered students’ account in the third week of July for fall and third week of December for spring. Pending Aid credit(s) are removed 10 days prior to the start of each term and replaced with actual disbursement for eligible students.

Grants, Scholarships and Loans

Grants, scholarships, and loans administered by OSFA are applied directly to your university student account to pay charges for tuition, fees, university-operated housing, and other university charges. Financial aid awarded for a specific term can only be used to pay for charges for that term and will only be disbursed to you during that term. (See Your Student Account and eBill for more information).

Federal Work-Study Funds

Students earn their Work-Study funds by working in positions with eligible employers. Wages are typically paid bi-weekly through the employer's payroll system. For more information about the Work-Study program, visit our Federal Work-Study web site.

Private Scholarships

If you have a private scholarship check and the scholarship sponsor or donor sends funds to the university, the funds will be applied directly to your university student account, unless otherwise specified by the scholarship sponsor, one-half in the fall semester and one-half in the spring semester. Payments are usually processed within two weeks of the start of each semester.


If Your Aid Exceeds Your Charges (Refunds)

If you have financial aid funds that exceed the charges on your student account at the time of disbursement, you will receive a refund, which may be used to pay other educationally related expenses. (Note that if subsequent charges are made to your account, you are responsible for paying them.

Your refund will be issued in the form of either a direct deposit into your bank account or a check mailed to your current local address.

Direct Deposit Authorization

OSFA recommends that students use Direct Deposit which is available through the Bursar Office. It is the best way to ensure your aid funds are received in a timely manner. To have your financial aid refunds deposited directly to your bank account visit the bursar web site Refunds page and click on Student Account Direct Deposit Authorization (which willl log you nto ELF to access My Forms). This authorization covers all money disbursed to you including financial aid refunds.