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Student Refund Policy and Process

Students who have a credit balance on their account may be eligible to receive a refund. The type of credit on a student's account will determine the method of initiating the refund and the length of time for a student to receive their refund.

All refund checks (paper checks) expire 180 days (6 months) from the issue date of the check. Federal Regulations require you to cash a federally funded refund check (Title IV Funds) within a timely manner. If a refund check is never cashed, American University must return the funds to the Department of Education within 240 days of the original refund issue date. If funds are returned, then we are not able to reissue the Title IV funds returned.

Refund Processing Time

  • If a student has an eligible credit balance on their account, then a refund will automatically be processed within 14 days.
  • If a student has a Federal Pell Grant and a Title IV credit on their account, then a refund will automatically be processed within 7 days.  

Students have the option of receiving their refund via ACH Direct Deposit, which allows American University to electronically transfer funds into the checking or savings account designated by the student, or having a paper check mailed. We encourage all students to sign up for ACH Direct Deposit through Eagle Service.

How to Sign Up for ACH Direct Deposit

ACH Direct Deposit is a means for American University to electronically deposit refunds into the checking or savings account the student designates. Students can sign up for ACH direct deposit by doing the following:

  1. Log in to the Eagle Service
  2. Select "Banking Information"
  3. Once on the "Banking Information" page, select "Add an Account"
  4. After "Add an Account" follow the prompts to provide banking information: to avoid a system error please do not copy and paste your banking information, please type information
  5. Once all banking information has been provided, confirm your banking information is correct
  6. Click the "Submit" button once all has been confirmed

Note: Each new account entered is verified by a prenote process. A prenote is a zero-dollar transaction that is sent to a bank through the Automated Clearing House(ACH) network. Banks use prenotes to verify the accuracy of account data, such as routing numbers and account numbers. The prenote process can take up to 24-48 hours to be verified.


  • Students are required to enter bank account information for which they are designated as the primary account holder.
  • Students are responsible for updating their bank account information. ACH direct deposit excludes payroll, federal college work study earnings and fellowships.
  • Once enrolled in ACH direct deposit, students will continue to receive all refunds via ACH direct deposit up until 6 months after they graduate, withdraw or until a student deletes their bank account information on-line.
  • It is the student's responsibility to verify that all ACH direct deposit payments have been credited to their bank account before writing checks against their funds.
  • Students cannot have their refund split between ACH direct deposit and a paper check.
  • Credit balances that are a result of a Parent Plus Loan can only be directly deposited into a students' bank account if a Parent Plus Authorization Form has been signed and submitted, by the borrowing parent, to the Office of Student Accounts.
  • American University reserves the right to initiate credit entries and to initiate, if necessary, debit entries and adjustments for any credit entries in error to a student's account.
  • ACH direct deposits can be transmitted to U.S. bank accounts only.
  • Students can only have one bank account on file with the University at a time. Any changes made by the student to their bank account information will overwrite the previous information entered.

Types of Credit Balances and Policy

 The type of financial aid funds and/or payments on a student's account will determine the method of initiating the refund and the length of time for a student to receive their refund. Students are encouraged to read the types of credit balances below to familiarize themselves with the type of credits that may exist on their account.

A Title IV Parent Plus Loan credit exists when the total amount of Parent Plus Loan disbursed for the term exceeds the total amount of tuition and fees. If a Parent Plus Loan credit exists on the student's account and the borrowing parent wants the refund to go directly to the student, then the borrowing parent must complete and submit a Parent Plus Authorization Form along with a copy of a photo ID. All Parent Plus Authorization forms should be faxed to (202) 885-1139.

A Title IV credit exists when the total amount of Title IV funds disbursed for the term exceeds the total amount of tuition and fees. Below is a list of Title IV Funds:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Direct Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan
  • Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan
  • Federal Teach Grant (TEACH)

If a Title IV credit exists on a student's account then a refund will automatically be refunded to the student. If the student has not signed up for ACH direct deposit a paper check will be produced and mailed to the billing address on file for that student.

To authorize, please complete the Student Authorization Form.

A Non-Title IV credit balance exists, after applying all TItle IV funds against the terms tuition charges, if the Non-Title IV disbursed funds exceed the remaining unpaid tuition and fees. Examples of Non-Title IV Funds are scholarships, grants, remitted tuition, etc.

A credit from a sponsorship exists, after applying all Title IV and Non-Title IV funds against the terms tuition and fees, if the sponsorship amount on the account exceeds the remaining unpaid tuition and fees. All sponsorships must be paid in full by the sponsor before a refund will be issued

A credit from a personal payment exists, after applying all Title IV and Non-Title IV funds against the terms tuition charges, if the payment or payments on the account exceed the remaining unpaid tuition and fees. All payments must clear before a refund will be issued. The number of days required to verify check clearances are listed below:

  • Online Payments - 10 days
  • Check Payments - 10 days

Students who are receiving an Athletic Stipend will automatically receive their stipend on a monthly basis. The Office of Student Accounts processes Athletic Stipend related refunds per a request and schedule from the Athletic Department.

Utilize Our Tutorial:

Access Refund Direct Deposit Tutorial Here

Your Refund Direct Deposit Is A Few Clicks Away


It's easy to Refund Direct Deposit your refund check. Just log on, click, & submit. Watch this video to learn more!