Because loans are often a large part of anyone's aid package and financial plan for meeting their university bill and other educational costs, it is important for students (and parents) to understand the timing and actions associated with the posting of loans to the bill.
At the same time, plan for loan processing thresholds so as not to be too tight with financial obligations (i.e., rent due the same day your loan disburses). Being a student can take on a lot of financial obligations, and it is important to create good financial planning habits to assist you now and in the future.
Securing the Loan
You have been awarded a loan, but that does not mean you have a loan.
In addition to accepting an awarded loan, you must complete the loan process. Issues like loan entrance counseling, your master promissory note (MPN), and, in the case of a Parent or Graduate PLUS Loan, credit approval must be completed. Loan counseling and the MPN are often done once per loan type for the course of your education. That means your first year will involve more steps whereas securing a continuation of a loan in future years will more likely to occur simply with the acceptance of an offered loan on your annual financial aid award offer.
You can always check the status of your MPN by logging back onto the MPN Website specific to your loan.
First-time UC Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Grad PLUS borrowers must also complete loan entrance counseling.
Anticipated Loan Amounts
Anticipated amounts for accepted loans may appear as part of your anticipated aid even it you are ultimately ineligible for the funds. That is because eligibility for loans will be determined at the time of loan disbursement, usually about 10 days prior to the start of the term. Your loan will not disburse if you are deemed ineligible for the loan at that time or you have not completed all steps for securing that loan.
Loan amounts that show on the bill may be different than you expected. Know that loans are often divided over several terms for the academic year. In particular, students planning on summer attendance will see their annual Federal Direct Loans processed over all three terms based on federal regulations.
Loan amounts will also account for fees taken out in the securing of the loan.
Disbursement Date & Loan Posting
With each Federal Direct Loan (for students or parents) secured, the borrower will receive a disclosure statement indicating the anticipated disbursement date. The disbursement dates will be noted for each segment of a multiple-term loan.
Disbursement dates are general and are based on funding being available for processing at UC. Recognize that it may take up to 48 hours for your loan to be processed when all students have the same disbursement date. Additionally, if you are not eligible for your loan on the disbursement date, your loan will be delayed from posting.
Disbursement dates are an indication of the earliest a loan could post to your bill. You can check your online bill as desired beginning with the disbursement date. However, do not contact UC about your loan if you have not completed all eligibility requirements and at least 3 working days have passed from the disbursement date to allow ample time of loan processing for all students.
Students who are eligible and take out financial aid funding that exceeds their billed costs are eligible for a refund. While the university works to process refunds as quickly as possible, refunds are not immediately available. Dates listed are when refund processing begins, not the date yours will be available.
Refund processing requires validation of eligibility and processing time with UC and your bank. Do not plan to see a refund sooner than 5 days following the posting of the loan on your bill.
Your online bill and line items on your bill will be updated with information indicating the expected timing of any refund. You can monitor the displayed date to plan for when a direct deposit will occur or a paper check mailed. Using direct deposit will speed the receipt of any refunds.
Students and parents should plan to meet financial obligations at the beginning of any terms understanding the posting and refund processes. Good planning ensures that money is set aside for term start-up costs so as not to be tied to refunds that may be delayed or not match with your due dates.