Disbursement of Financial Aid Funds
Students must be academically engaged prior to the disbursement of federal, state, and/or institutional financial aid funds. Academic attendance and attendance in an academically-related activity includes, but is not limited to:
- Submitting an academic assignment;
- Physically attending a course where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and student (consortium students only);
- Taking an exam, an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction;
- Attending a study group that is assigned by the instructor;
- Participating in an online discussion about academic matters; and
- Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.
Logging into an online course without active participation, or participating in academic advisement or counseling, is not considered attendance.
Financial aid funds are never released in a single "lump-sum" payment within a semester. Instead, the College schedules multiple disbursements (payments) of financial aid dollars within a semester based on course engagement.
Semester Example: Student enrolled in T1 (Term 1) and T2 (Term 2) courses.
The student's first scheduled financial aid disbursement is applied to both the T1 (current course) and T2 (future course) charges. Excess financial aid dollars from the first scheduled disbursement (if any) will result in a credit refund.
The student's second disbursement of financial aid dollars will be applied towards charges not previously covered by the first disbursement of financial aid. Again, excess financial aid dollars (if any) will result in a second credit refund.
The release of financial aid funds usually begins 25-30 days after the start of classes. Students enrolled only in 8 week courses (first or second 8 weeks) will receive two disbursements; one approximately three weeks into the term and the other at the end of the term.
The Office of Financial Aid will communicate updates to its disbursement policies and procedures on an ongoing bases as regulatory changes are made by the U.S. Department of Education. Students are advised to check their ACORN account and Charter Oak email for financial aid information including disbursement policies. Disbursement policy information can also be found in the College's catalog.