Disbursement of Aid

Financial aid is paid (disbursed) to students no sooner than the beginning of each term. When and how you receive your aid depends on:

  • the type of aid you receive and
  • whether you have completed requirements for receiving your awards

Your aid will be disbursed based on full-time enrollment. Read the information on this page carefully to find out about how different types of financial aid are disbursed, when you can expect to receive them and what you must do to receive your funds.


Financial aid is disbursed to students at the beginning of each term. Before your aid can be paid, you must have a financial aid Award Notice and you must complete the requirements below. 

  • Submit any requested documents: If you were asked to submit any follow-up documents for verification, you must provide them to the Office of Financial Aid.
  • Credit hours: Enroll for a credit hour load that is at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates, 4 hours for graduate students). Students must be enrolled at least half-time in classes that count for degree credit to receive any aid. Keep in mind that: Some scholarships require full-time enrollment; being wait-listed does not count toward your enrollment level; you must enroll in a course by drop/add each term to be considered for financial aid for that course. If your program has a flexible enrollment policy, register before drop/add.
Enrolled Less than Full-Time? If you are not enrolled full-time by the end of drop/add, your aid will be adjusted and you will receive a revised award notice reflecting your level of enrollment. If you enroll less than full-time but at least half time, your aid may be reduced based on your enrollment level.
  • Complete loan promissory notes: Complete/sign any applicable loan notes. The Office of Financial Aid will notify you by email.

If you have Direct Loans, complete your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note online at studentloans.gov. Your note remains valid for 10 years and you do not need to sign another one unless you have been out of school for one year or more.

If you have a Perkins Loan, Health Professions Loan, or Nursing Loan, complete your MPN(s) using Wolverine Access. Health Professions and Nursing Loan recipients must also complete (on Wolverine Access) a Rights and Responsibilities Statement annually before disbursement. If you previously signed a Perkins Loan MPN, you do not need to sign another.

  • Entrance Counseling: First-time, first-year Direct Loan borrowers and Grad PLUS borrowers must complete loan entrance counseling at studentloans.gov. (Note: This is not the same as the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool on the same site.) For more information about your Direct Loan requirements, see the Completing Your Loan Requirements section of the Direct PLUS Loans page and/or the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loans page. 
  • Academic holds on account: You must resolve these before your aid will be disbursed.


Once you have completed the requirements above, you will receive your aid within two weeks.

Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

Grants, scholarships, and loans are applied directly to your University student account to pay for tuition, fees, university housing, and other charges. Aid awarded for a specific term can only be used to pay for charges for that term and will only be disbursed to you during that term.  (See Student Account and eBill for more information.)

Work-Study Funds

Students earn Work-Study funds by working in positions with eligible employers. Wages are typically paid bi-weekly through the employer's payroll system. For more information about the Work-Study program, see Work-Study & Other Jobs.

Private Scholarships

If you have a private scholarship check and the scholarship sponsor or donor sends funds to the university, the funds will be applied directly to your university student account, one-half in the Fall Term and one-half in the Winter Term, unless otherwise specified by the scholarship sponsor. Payments are usually processed within two weeks of the start of each term, upon full-time registration.

If your scholarship sponsor sends your scholarship check directly to you,  follow the instructions on the Scholarship Checks page to make sure it is applied to your University student account.

Two Important Tips for Receiving Your Aid
  • Keep your address current on Wolverine Access.
  • Put your name on your mailbox! The post office will not deliver first class mail to mailboxes without names listed on them in apartment buildings, student rooming houses, etc. Be sure your name is on your box!


If you have financial aid funds that exceed the charges on your student account at the time of disbursement, you will receive a refund, which may be used to pay other educationally related expenses. (Note that if subsequent charges are made to your account, you are responsible for paying them. Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions page.)

Your refund will be issued in the form of either a direct deposit into your bank account or a check mailed to your current local address. However, see below for information about what to do if you have excess funds but do not receive a refund check or deposit.

Direct Deposit Authorization

The Office of Financial Aid recommends that students use Direct Deposit which is available through Wolverine Access. It is the best way to ensure your aid funds are received in a timely manner. To have your financial aid refunds deposited directly to your bank account:

  • Visit Wolverine Access and under Student Business select the Direct Deposit link to sign up. It will remain in effect until you cancel it. 
  • This authorization covers all money disbursed to you including financial aid refunds and university employment wages (including Work-Study).
  • Keep your bank account information up to date in Wolverine Access; if your bank account changes or the number is incorrect, your financial aid refund cannot be disbursed and your aid will be delayed.
  • For Frequently Asked Questions about Direct Deposit and more information, visit U-M Financial Operations.
  • If you do not have Direct Deposit, a paper refund check will be mailed to your local (current) address as listed on Wolverine Access. Always keep your address up-to-date with the University.

If You See a Credit on Your Student Account

Under some circumstances, your refund will appear as a credit on your student account, but you will need to request that a check be issued to you for your refund. If, for example, you have ever made a cash payment (including electronic payments and budget plan payments) to your account, a check for your refund will not be issued automatically. In this case, you may contact Student Financial Services to request that the funds be released to you.

Likewise, Graduate Student Employees with full tuition waivers and students receiving assistance through the Michigan Education Trust or a ROTC tuition scholarship may need to request that their credit balances (excess aid) be released to them. These students should check their account on Wolverine Access and then contact us.


If your parents are borrowing through the PLUS Loan program, they may elect to have any excess funds refunded either to them or to you. 

If you receive a refund for a loan and you do not want the funds, you must give us written notification. Not cashing the check will not cancel the loan. Here are your options:

  • Return your uncashed check to OFA with a note of explanation.
  • If you have already cashed the check or received direct deposit, provide OFA with a written request to reduce your loan to the desired amount. Once the loan has been removed from your Student Account you can then make an ePayment through Wolverine Access, or write a check payable to “University of Michigan.” Please see the Student Financial Services website for more detailed information on making payments to your Student Account.

Some types of aid can only be used to pay for certain types of charges. For example, federal aid funds may not be used to pay for orientation charges, phone bills, lost ID fees, etc.; and some aid awards are designated to cover only tuition charges. Therefore, you could receive a refund even if you have outstanding charges on your student account from the current term or previous terms.

If a balance remains on your student account, you are responsible for paying it even after receiving a financial aid refund.

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