Refund of Credit Balances

A refundable credit balance may result on your student account due to financial aid payments, loan disbursements, account adjustments, and/or payments posted to your account.

Refunds are issued by direct deposit to your bank account.  Direct deposits can be made to any U.S. financial institution where you have a checking or savings account.  Please complete a Direct Deposit Authorization to ensure your refund reaches you as quickly as possible (directions are on the form).

Direct deposit refunds of financial aid and loan disbursements will be distributed to students beginning the first day of class each term.  Refunds of excess financial aid and loan funds will be processed continually during the semester as aid is credited.

Refunds are issued to you/the student.  In some limited instances, refunds of credit balances on your student account will be issued to a separate party; this occurs when:

  • PLUS loan credit balances are refunded to the parent/parents who borrowed the funds
  • Outside scholarships returned to granting agency (in cases where we are unable to apply the funds as designated by the granting agency)
  • Credit balances due to a payment from a third party where the payment was unable to be applied in accordance with the third party’s directions

Refunds due to over-payments are processed no sooner than 10 business days after the credit balance appears.  If the credit balance is due to an over-payment made by check, we will not process the refund for 15 business days to allow time for the check payment to clear the bank.

* Credit balances due to overpayment of student account charges will be refunded to you as long as the amount of the over-payment is minimal. Payments sent to the University (either by check or bank wire) on your behalf should be limited to educational expenses billed to your student account. Funds intended to cover your "spending" or "living expenses" should be sent directly to you - not to Duke University.  Duke University is unable to transfer funds to you on behalf of a separate party. If the University receives such funds, they will be applied to any outstanding charges on your student account. If there are no outstanding charges, we will hold the funds to be applied to your student account for a future term's charges or until you leave the University.

Application of Title IV Federal Financial Aid to Student Account Charges

Title IV federal financial aid funds include:

  • Pell Grant
  • SEOG
  • Perkins loan
  • Stafford loans
  • Undergraduate PLUS loans
  • Graduate PLUS loans

The Department of Education requires that Title IV federal funds credited to your student account be applied to the following charges for the current year:

  • tuition and required fees, and
  • housing and meal plans if you live on campus or have a Duke meal plan

Without your prior approval, we are unable to use any excess title IV federal funds (funds that remain after the above charges have been paid) to cover non-qualifying fees for the current year such as parking permits, FLEX to Bursar charges or other miscellaneous fees and fines.  In addition, the regulations do not allow us to apply excess Title IV funds to outstanding charges from prior school years even with your approval.

In order for us apply excess title IV federal funds to non-qualifying fees for the current year, we must have permission from you in the form of a wavier; you can grant this waiver to us by visiting ACES and completing the waiver process, as follows:

  • click “Bursar Info” tab on your Student Center page
  • click “Federal Aid Permissions”
  • click the button labeled “Grant Permissions”
  • review the information under “Select Permissions Form”, select “FEDAIDWAIV” and click “Next”
  • review the information in the “Permission Form Agreement”, click the box next to “Yes, I have read the agreement” and click the “Submit” button
  • upon completion, you will receive a message saying “Your permission form has been accepted”
Example - Current year activity for fall term:
  Tuition, fees, room & board $
20,000.00
  Parking Permit  
200.00
  FLEX To Bursar  
1,000.00
Total Charges Due: $
21,200.00
Federal loan $
30,000.00

With your approval/waiver,

  • Your Federal loan funds will apply to all charges
  • The remaining excess $8,800 will be refunded to you
  • your account balance for the current year will be zero after the refund is processed

Without your approval/waiver,

  • your Federal loan will pay only your tuition, fees, room & board of $20,000
  • $10,000 in excess Federal loan funds will be refunded to you
  • $1,200 in charges for current year non-qualifying fees will remain on your student account
  • you will be responsible for submitting a separate payment for these fees

New Federal Requirements for Direct Deposits Forwarded Overseas

There have been recent changes to the payment system rules for direct deposit based on guidelines issued by the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control. Under the new regulations, if you are forwarding 100% of your direct deposit refund to a foreign financial institution, Duke must meet specific reporting requirements when sending your direct deposit. This regulation does not impact the amount of your payment.

We are required to comply with additional reporting standards if your refund is being sent to you via direct deposit at a U.S. financial institution and you are transferring 100% of this payment outside of the United States. If both of these conditions apply, please contact us so that we can review available options with you. Please call a student account analyst at 919-684-3531 to discuss further.

Please note that if you are not transferring 100% of your direct deposit refund, you are not impacted by this new regulation, and no action is required.