Enroll for Financial Aid Refunds Via Direct Deposit or the CUNY Scholar Card

When a student’s account reflects more financial aid or payments than necessary to cover tuition and fees, the student may be eligible for a student refund. Examples of payments to a student account include financial aid (e.g. federal loans, scholarships, Pell, etc.) or out of pocket payments (e.g. payment by check, cash, etc.) Refunds are generally processed by CUNY on a weekly basis.

The University strongly recommends that students eligible for a refund sign up for an electronic payment method such as Direct Deposit to their personal bank account or the CUNY Scholar Card which is a Money Network pre-paid card.

Don’t think you are eligible for a refund? Student refunds are not only triggered by financial aid activity. Students who pay their tuition and fees from non-financial aid sources such as checks, 529 plans, cash, etc. may be subject to a refund due to a change in classes or change in academic programs.

What payment methods are available for students to receive refunds?

CUNY offers two electronic payment methods for students to receive refunds. Students may choose the payment method most convenient to them.

Electronic payment methods eliminate the risk of losing a check and eliminate the need to physically visit a bank to make a deposit.

Students who do not opt to enroll in an electronic method will receive a check to their mailing address. Students can review their mailing address in CUNYfirst Self-Service.

What are the benefits of signing up for direct deposit or Scholar Card?

  • Your refund will be automatically loaded to your bank or pre-paid card account
  • This eliminates the chance that your refund check will get lost, misdirected, or delayed during delivery, or misplaced once you receive it.
  • You can receive your student refund even while traveling away from your mailing address.

What is the process for refunding Financial Aid?

When your financial aid awards are disbursed to your CUNYfirst account, they will be applied to unpaid tuition and fee charges first. If you have excess financial aid after the payment of your tuition and fees, you may receive a refund.

Note that if you incur additional charges to your account, you are responsible for paying them. You can always view your student account by logging into your CUNYfirst account via Self-Service.