Refunds, Advances, and Delinquencies

Review the information below for further details on refunds, advances, and delinquencies. Visit the Registration and Records page to see the General Registration and the Bulletin for Tuition Refund Waiver policies for each semester.

Financial Aid Advances

If you anticipate having a credit balance during the term, you may be eligible to receive a financial aid advance before the semester begins and before your aid has been disbursed. Advances are 50 percent of your anticipated credit balance up to $2,000. To request and receive an advance electronically, you must:

  • Be signed up for Direct Deposit Refunds by logging into Self-Service > Financial Account > Transact. Refunds and advances distributed through Direct Deposit Refunds are deposited to your bank account with the exception of credits resulting from a Federal Parent PLUS loan in which a paper check must be issued to the parent. 

  • Request an advance through Self-Service > Other Services > External Links > Financial Aid Advance Request, or submit the Financial Aid Advance Request Form.

Once your advance is processed, you will be notified through your SAIC email address. Second advances can be accommodated by special request to the Student Financial Services office.


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 and after attendance has been confirmed by the Registrar's office and financial aid has been adjusted based on actual enrollment. 

The attendance process is dependent on faculty submitting their attendance records in a timely fashion. Once this is completed for the majority of the students, the refund process begins and continues until all credit balances are refunded. This typically begins the fourth week of the semester. Students may request an advance of up to $2,000 while waiting for their refund, and second advances can be accommodated by special request to the Student Financial Services office.

The financial aid adjustment process begins after the add/drop period when schedule changes are no longer permitted and the Office of Student Financial Services adjusts financial 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 (as appropriate) 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

How to Enroll in Direct Deposit Refunds

Direct Deposit Refunds allow students to receive any anticipated refunds directly deposited to the bank account of their choice. This is SAIC’s preferred refund delivery method as it is fast, safe, and secure.

Enrolling takes only a couple of minutes!

Direct Deposit Refunds Setup Instructions

Please note: wire routing numbers and debit card numbers are not used with direct deposit refunds.

  1. Log into Self-Service
  2. Click Financial Account 
  3. Click on Transact (Transact will open in a new tab or pop-up window)
  4. Click My Account, then click Direct Deposit Refunds Sign-up
  5. Check the Agreement box and then enter the following to complete setup:
  • Account holder name
  • Account type (Checking or Savings)
  • Routing/transit number
  • Bank account number

Early Refund Request for Summer

In addition to the advance option, summer term students can request an early refund of the total expected refund. Because summer scholarships and grants are not disbursed until after all the different summer sessions' add/drops are complete at the end of July (approx 8 weeks into the semester), students can also request an early refund. Early refund requests can be processed for the full amount of the expected refund (which may be more than the $2000 limit on advance requests) only once all of the student's add/drop sessions are completed. 

Students can submit an Early Refund Request by emailing the Student Financial Services office.

SAIC PLUS Loan Refund Policy

In the case of dependent undergraduate students, federal law requires that any excess Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan funds be returned to the parent. Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan funds are applied to the student’s billed charges first (e.g. tuition, fees, room, and meal plan).  Any Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan funds that remain after the aforementioned charges have been paid may be refunded to the parent borrower if indicated on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan application. 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). Since the student may receive other aid that creates a credit balance, all other credit balance refunds are issued to the student.

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 owed 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 in Transact. You can access Transact by going to Self-Service > Financial Account > Transact.

Transact is SAIC's online payment and refund system. 

Credit Balances

From Non-Cash Payments—Credit balances from non-cash payments are processed regularly each week for students who are eligible. To receive an advance or refund, which will be deposited in your bank account, you must enroll in eRefund through SAIC Self-Service by clicking on the Transact link and providing information on the bank account of your choice.

Federal Direct PLUS Refunds—Credit balances resulting from a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan must be processed by a paper check made payable to the parent borrower unless they have provided written permission for the student to receive the Federal Direct PLUS Loan refund. Parents may give authorization for the student to receive the credit balance when they request a Federal Direct PLUS Loan at Parents may also send written permission by email to, however, it must come from the parent's email address as listed on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Request or on the Federal Direct PLUS MPN (Master Promissory Note).

From CASH Payments—Credit balances resulting from cash payments (wire transfers, personal checks, money orders, cashier's checks, etc) are held on the student account from semester to semester until the end of each year unless requested by the student in writing from their SAIC email address to or they are no longer enrolled. At the end of the year, after the add-drop session of the spring semester is completed, all credit balances remaining on a student's account will be automatically refunded in order to close out the end of the SAIC fiscal year.

Delinquent Accounts

Students with outstanding balances are not allowed to register and not permitted to obtain either official transcripts of their academic records nor a diploma until all financial obligations have been met. Students needing an official transcript for employment purposes are an exception. In those exceptions, the transcript must be sent directly to the employer. Delinquent accounts may be referred to a collection agency.