Refunds and Financial Aid Advances


The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) typically processes refunds of credit balances on students' tuition and fee accounts following the end of the add/drop period for the semester. If, after adjustments are made at the end of the add/drop period, a credit balance remains on the student account, a refund will be processed. 

This is typically when schedule changes are no longer permitted and the Office of Student Financial Services has made adjustments to aid awards based upon the actual number of hours the student is enrolled in for that semester. If the credit on the student account results from federal aid disbursements, the credit balance will be refunded directly to the student or parent (in the case of a Federal Direct PLUS loan) as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after:

  • The date the balance occurred on the student's account, if the balance occurred after the first day of class of a payment period, or
  • The first day of classes of the payment period if the credit balance occurred on or before the first day of class of that payment period.

In the case of dependent undergraduate students, federal law requires that any excess Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan funds be returned to the parent. Therefore, if Federal Direct PLUS Loan funds create a credit balance, the credit balance would have to be given to the parent. However, the parent may authorize SAIC (in writing or through to transfer the proceeds of a Federal Direct PLUS Loan credit balance directly to the student for whom the loan is made (for example, to a bank account in the student's name).

Additional Information:

  • If you have a refund or an advance in process, you will be notified through your SAIC email address.
  • In exceptional situations, a “balance owed” may be created on your account if a financial aid advance or refund has been processed and adjustments are made to the award package at a later date, due to changes in enrollment and/or eligibility for aid. Payment arrangements for any balance owing should be made with the Office of Student Financial Services.
  • You may be issued a refund earlier if you have a credit balance prior to the end of add/drop due to the disbursement of alternative or federal loans.

To receive an advance or refund which will be deposited to your bank account, you must enroll in eRefund through SAIC Self-Service by clicking on the CASHNet link. CASHNet is SAIC's online payment and refund system.

Financial Aid Advances

Financial aid advances are available to students who have anticipated financial aid that will exceed their charges for the semester. Students will typically be eligible to receive 50 percent of their anticipated credit balance up to $1,000, unless an alternative loan is included in their aid package. You may request an advance through SAIC Self-Service up to two weeks before each semester. You will be notified of the status of your request through your SAIC email address. Only students who have received funds for an alternative loan may be eligible for a refund or advance of more than $1,000 prior to the end of the add/drop period.

Advances are available to students who:

  • Have completed the necessary steps to receive all financial aid funds (including loan funds if applicable)
  • Have a financial aid award based upon the actual number of hours for which they are enrolled
  • Do not have an outstanding balance from previous terms
  • Submit their request after May 15 for the summer semester, after August 15 for the fall semester, after December 15 for the winter semester and after January 15 for the spring semester

If you meet the requirements listed above, you are eligible to submit the form. You may navigate to the Financial Advance form by logging into SAIC Self-Service and accessing the "Financial Aid Advance Request" in the right hand column, or go directly to the form and apply for an advance. Requests are processed in the Student Financial Services office.

You are required to enroll for eRefund in order to receive advances and refunds by direct deposit. You can enroll via SAIC Self-Service by clicking on the CASHNet link. Refunds and advances distributed through eRefund are deposited to your bank account with the exception of credits resulting from a Federal Parent PLUS loan.