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Refund Cycle

If your financial aid and payments are more than your institutional charges, you should receive a refund for the difference. When you will receive your refund depends on where you fall in the process.

Please note that if your refund is being generated by an eCheck or paper check payment, there is a 14-day waiting period after check payments have posted to guarantee clearance of the funds before we can process those refunds. Also, there are additional considerations to be aware of for tuition payment plans and third-party sponsorships.


Phase 1: Aid Disbursement

If your refund is being generated by only credit card, eCheck, check, or other payments, skip to Phase 2.

To kick off the refund process, financial aid disburses as payment toward your balance due about 10 days prior to the first day of the fall and spring semesters if it is ready to pay (meaning you have no unsatisfied requirements). Use our Checklists page to make sure your financial aid is ready. If payments and aid are more than your institutional charges, the refund process will begin.

Once the first aid disbursement happens for the semester, it continues to disburse about twice a week to catch aid that still had unsatisfied requirements for the first disbursement run (as students satisfy those requirements). Please see our Aid Disbursement & Refunds page for information on how aid disburses for summer semesters.

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Phase 2: Negative Balance on Your Student Account

Once aid disburses - or your payments exceed your charges - you should show a negative balance on your account. This would be the amount due to you as a refund. Example: If your charges for the semester are $5,000 and your aid disburses $6,000, your account would show a Balance Due of -$1,000.

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Phase 3: Refund Processed

Once your student account is showing a negative balance due after aid and payments, your refund will be processed. Refunds are processed a few times a week, so once you have a negative balance due, you should hit the next round of refunds. Note: There are additional considerations to keep in mind if your refund is being generated by an eCheck or paper check, tuition payment plan, or third-party sponsorships.

After your refund is processed, it will show as a Student Refund in the charges column of your student account. This is not actually a charge! It’s just how we indicate on your account that your refund has been processed so that you do not constantly show as due a refund.

Your refund showing as processed is an indicator that it is on its way.

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Phase 4: Refund Sent to You

When you see the Student Refund on your student account indicating the refund has been processed, that does not mean you will immediately have the funds. Once your student account is showing the Student Refund, the funds are sent to TMS to distribute to you.

If you have selected direct deposit, those funds will be deposited in the bank account you set up – usually within 3 to 5 business days. If you have selected paper check (or have not set up direct deposit), a check will be printed and mailed to the mailing/local address on file in the STAR system (which you can access and update via your WVU Portal). The paper check can take 14 business days or more, depending on the mail.

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