How to Check on My Pell Grant Refund

by Sara Mahuron
College students may use financial aid money to pay for their living expenses while in school.

Financial aid award letters from colleges and universities detail an individual student's costs of attendance and the financial assistance offered, based on the student's situation and completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students may be awarded a Pell Grant, which is money they don't have to pay back. When students accept this award, their school processes the grant for them and applies it to their student account. The grant money is first applied to eligible expenses owed to the school. Any residual award money is disbursed to the student to help pay for other eligible expenses, such as books, equipment, and housing expenses.

Checking on your Pell Grant Refund

Check your school's policy on when financial aid money will be released to students so you have a general idea of when to expect a refund. Check your school's policy on its financial aid website or by calling the financial aid office directly. Schools have a standard policy for how and when federal money they have awarded students is processed. The quickest way to receive your residual financial aid money is to set up direct deposit.

Call or check your online banking to see if you have received a direct deposit from your school. You can also check your bank account to see if you have a pending direct deposit. A direct deposit can take several days to reach your bank account after it is initiated.

Call or email your school's financial aid office and ask when and where you will receive a paper check for residual financial aid being processed without direct deposit. Many schools hand out residual funds by paper check at the school's cashier window or office. If this is the case at your school, go to the cashier and wait in line for your refund check.

Log in to your student account and view your financial aid information if you're expecting a refund and haven't received it. You can also call your school and talk to the billing office (or student accounts office) to access the same information. Verify that your Pell Grant has been credited to your student account, confirm the amount was correct and confirm that there is a residual balance owed to you.

Inquire about your student records, either by phone or online, to find out whether or not a refund has been requested on your account. If your account has a balance owed to you and you don't see a pending refund, call or email your school's billing (or student accounts) office and request the refund be made to you. There may have been an error that caused the refund not to be processed automatically; it may need to be initiated manually.

About the Author

Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.

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