Student Loan Disbursement

You are on top of the game - you have your whole school check list written down and are crossing out tasks one by one. But there's one problem - most of these tasks require money and you don't know when student loans are disbursed during the academic year.

Don't worry – we can help you understand when to expect your loans. Each school does student loan disbursement a little differently. Most of the time, federal financial aid (such as Stafford loans and Pell Grants) and most private loans are sent directly to the school according to the school's financial calendar. It's important to know that not all schools disburse loans immediately.

Student Loan Disbursement Timeframe

Loans are typically disbursed in two installments once you have confirmed your enrollment, roughly 10 days before your tuition is due each semester.

Generally, if this is your first year of undergraduate education and you have never borrowed before, your school will wait to disburse funds for 30 days after your enrollment period closes. For returning students, funds can be awarded before the semester even begins - the actual disbursement dates depend on your school's financial aid office. If you're unsure when your monies should arrive, the safest course of action is to contact your school.

Using Student Loan Funds

Federal awards will always go towards the payment of your tuition, room & board, and additional necessary school-related resources you or the school has identified.* Leftover federal funds are supposed to be returned to the government unless specified by your school's financial aid office. Any remaining private funds are disbursed to the student after payments to the college have been processed. These funds are typically refunded to you via your school.**

Both your lender and your school will have loan-specific information for each student; check all of your financial aid documentation to see who is responsible for disbursing the private loan to you. If you have any questions regarding your particular disbursement process, contact your financial aid office or go to your school's financial aid website.

There are many things you can do with your leftover loan funds, including paying for:

  • Books
  • A computer
  • Computer software
  • Rent

Some schools will have special deals or instructions on how you can use any additional funds for school-related expenses (such as a school debit card that is pre-loaded with your refund).

You can also use that additional money to pay back your loan principal. Sound boring? Remember that your loan will accrue interest over time, and the faster you pay it down, the less interest you will accrue. So if you don't need it, send it back. You will thank yourself in the long run.

If you've gotten your loan disbursed and you still don't have enough money to pay for any additional school-related costs (e.g., housing, school supplies, commuting expenses) remember that you can take out a private student loan for textbooks in amounts starting at $1,000 at any point during the year.

Learn how to fill the gap and cover the rest of your hidden college expenses.

* Eligible fees are typically determined by the school in your entrance interview, they may include lab fees, computer lab costs, etc.

** This is also dependent on the school and the type of loan you are awarded.