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Attending Class in Hopes of a Refund

Danielle Thomas
Arts & Entertainments Editor

    When a refund check arrives each semester, it’s a time of celebration for some students; however, some students know the disappointment of not receiving a refund check, either on time or at all.

   Most students do not understand how refund checks work. Becky Hammett, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, said she does get questions from students who do not qualify for a credit balance refund or think they should get a refund check.

   “Occasionally, (Financial Aid) does get questions, even from students in the application process,” Hammett said. “Sometimes, a student thinks they should receive a refund, but they don’t realize that their charges on their bill exceed how much aid they receive.”

   Students who do not receive a refund check when they expect one might not take into account when the aid has to be applied to their account.

   “In most cases, for a refund to be given, a student has to have a credit balance the Friday before a Wednesday refund day,” Hammett said. “Whatever aid is applied to a student account, less charges, is what aid a student is eligible to receive.”

   Hammett said students also do not realize that refunds can still be given even after the dates that are posted at the Cashier’s Office. If refund checks will not be given out on a Wednesday, the email informing the student they received a credit balance refund check will include what day the check will be available.

   Jason Cooper, Accounting Tech 2 in the Cashier’s Office, said that someone besides the student can pick up the refund check.

   “As long as (the student) sends a note, with their identification number and their signature, with the person that is picking up the refund check, its fine,” Cooper said. “The person picking up the refund check must also bring the student’s identification card and a form of identification for themselves.”

   Another aspect of refund checks students do not think about includes the return of Title IV funds. If students do not attend 60 percent of class or withdraw, officially or unofficially, before 60 percent of the semester is over. Official withdrawal from UAM involves the student withdrawing themselves. Unofficial withdrawal can occur when a professor drops a student due to a violation of an attendance policy. Some of the programs on the technical campuses require attendance to complete the program. If the student quits attending the class, the professor can withdraw them. Another example of unofficial withdrawal would be a student failing a class due to not attending a class.

   The 60 percent mark of the semester includes weekends. Hammett said a return of Title IV funds calculation is done to determine the amount of federal aid a student has earned. Any unearned federal aid must be returned.

   The Financial Aid office determines what students have not attended classes by emailing the professors. Hammett said that starting this semester, the Registrar’s office will distribute an enrollment roster to the faculty for the purpose of reporting students who are enrolled but never attended a single class period or the date they last attended if they are no longer attending class.

   UAM returns the money not earned to the student’s lender or the federal government, then the student must repay any resulting student account balance to UAM. Students receive notification by letter of an outstanding balance. 

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ŠThe Voice 2006
01/13/2008 03:07:36 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/4_4/refund.htm