Online Schools That Give Refund Checks:
Options, Time Limits Listed

Financial aid refunds are often issued electronically as a direct deposit. But some online schools, including Ashford University and the University of Phoenix, issue refund checks instead of electronic refunds. Paper refund checks are often delayed, sometimes for as long as 21 days. But there are several online schools that give refund checks fast — within two weeks or less. For more information on online schools that give refund checks, see below.

The List of Online Schools That Give Refund Checks

In order to attend a college or university, you may need to utilize financial aid from the Department of Education. Students will often be approved for more financial aid than they need for tuition costs. For example, if a semester’s tuition costs $2,000, you might be approved for $3,000. If you accept the entire $3,000 loan, the school will issue you a refund of $1,000 for the excess payment. You can use the refund to pay for other costs associated with your education, such as school supplies, a computer, or living expenses.

Note that accepting the full $3,000 loan means you will have to pay interest on that amount. If you can cover your additional expenses through a work-study program or off-campus job, your total student loan amount will be lower, and you’ll save on interest. It’s a good idea to talk with a financial aid advisor about how much of a loan you should accept.

We’ve compiled the list of online schools that issue financial aid refund checks, including which online schools give refund checks fast.

Ashford University

  • Refund options: Paper check or direct deposit
  • Refund time frame: According to an Ashford University representative, within three days of the credit posting to your student account, the school will send the refund information to a third-party group called Tuition Management Systems (TMS) to process and mail your refund. It will take TMS seven to 10 business days to process and mail your check. Delivery times will vary by location.

Capella University

  • Refund options: Paper check or direct deposit
  • Refund time frame: According to a Capella University representative, within three days of your student loan disbursement, the school will post the credit to your student account. It will then take seven to 10 days for a direct deposit refund, or 10 to 15 days for a paper check refund.

Purdue University Global

  • Refund options: Paper check or direct deposit
  • Refund time frame: According to a Purdue University Global representative, refunds are sent at the end of each 10-week term. Delivery times vary depending upon your refund method and location.

Saint Leo University

  • Refund options: Paper check, direct deposit, or refund to your BankMobile account
  • Refund time frame: According to a Saint Leo University financial aid representative, if you set up a BankMobile account, you will receive your refund within about 14 days of your financial aid payment being dispersed. It may take an additional one to two days for BankMobile to process your payment. If you do not set up a BankMobile account, a paper check will be mailed to your address on file. Saint Leo University will hold the check for 21 business days after the funds are dispersed before it mails you the check.

University of Phoenix

  • Refund options: Paper check or direct deposit
  • Refund time frame: A University of Phoenix representative explained that refunds are sent within 14 days of posting to the student’s account.

Walden University

  • Refund options: Paper check or direct deposit
  • Refund time frame: A Walden University financial aid representative informed us that refunds are dispersed during the third week of each semester.

In Summary

Most schools issue financial aid refunds electronically, but some schools do mail refund checks upon request. Online schools that give refund checks include Ashford University, Capella University, Purdue University Global, Saint Leo University, University of Phoenix, and Walden University. The average time frame for your refund check to be issued and mailed is between 10 and 21 business days after the credit posts to your student account. Online schools that send refund checks faster than most include Ashford University, Capella University, and the University of Phoenix.

If you didn’t use all of your school supplies, you might consider donating supplies to a good cause.

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