Refunds, Advances, and Delinquencies

There are a number of situations you may find yourself in during your time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) with regard to payment of your tuition or fees.

Read on to learn about delinquent accounts, credit balances, and add, drop, withdrawal, and refunds.


Students with outstanding balances are not allowed to register and will not be permitted to obtain either official transcripts of their academic records or a diploma until all financial obligations have been met. In addition, some services on campus may be suspended, such as check outs from media center, libraries and access to shops. Delinquent accounts may be listed with a credit bureau and may be referred to a collection agency.

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 CASHNet link and providing information on the bank account of your choice.

Federal Direct PLUS Refunds—Credit balances resulting from a Federal Direct Parent PLUS must be processed by a paper check made payable to the parent borrower unless they have provided written permission for the student to have 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 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 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.

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.  The attendance process is typically completed by the end of the 3rd week during the fall and spring semesters, the first week of August during the summer semester and the first week of January for winter term. Students may request an Advance during this processing time, and second Advances can be accommodated by special request to the Student Financial Services office.

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 (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.

eRefund is SAIC’s online payment and refund system that allows students who will be receiving a financial aid advance or refund, have their funds directly deposited to the bank account of their choice. This will get your refund to you much more quickly and securely rather than waiting for a check in the postal mail.

Sign up takes only a couple of minutes!

You will need your bank’s routing number and your bank account number to get set up.



  1. Log into Self-Service
  2. Select Financial Account 
  3. Click on CASHNet
  4. Save your bank account information, then enroll in eRefund with the following information:
  • Name of the Account Holder
  • Account Type (Checking or Savings)
  • Account Number Routing/Transit Number

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 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 in CASHNet.  You can access CASHNet by going to Self-Service > Financial Account > CASHNet.  CASHNet is SAIC's online payment and refund system. 

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 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.