So I like to think we are in the home stretch of the financial aid process, applications have been processed, award letters are out and award acceptances (Notification and Confirmation forms) have come in. So very close… but the reality is there are still a couple of important things that need to happen to insure that the Yale bill is paid and that you have money in your pocket to live on. I have been getting a lot of our new admits emailing me with the basic questions below so I am gearing this blog to them but all the info is valid even for our veteran rising 2Ls and 3Ls.
When will I get a bill? You won’t… not in the sense of a bill mailed or emailed to you directly. What you will get is an email that a July 1 billing (due August 1) is available for you to review on the Student Information System (SIS). You’re going to pick up in this blog that the SIS system (www.yale.edu/SIS) needs to become your new best friend for the sake of financial aid – bookmark it and keep it close at hand . That July 1 bill is going to show your charges (tuition, fees and health) and is also going to show all your accepted financial aid totaled as an “anticipated financial aid credit”. As long as the anticipated aid covers the charges you need not worry about the July 1 bill. If there is a gap that you intended to pay on your own you must make arrangement to pay it (instructions will be on the SIS system how to make direct payments) prior to August 1. If there is a gap and you discover the need to borrow more loan funds that July 1 bill gives you the time to contact our office and do that prior to that August 1 payment date.
What happens if there is still a balance due on my bill as of the August 1 due date? On that date if there is any balance due a number of “bad” things will happen. First a $125 a month late fee will be assessed increasing what you owe even more. Secondly you will be put on financial hold which will prohibit you from registering with the rest of your class and receiving your course schedule. (In the cast of current students note that a financial hold will prevent you from getting transcripts needed for FIP!) Note, at any time before the start of classes if the balance is cleared then the financial hold is removed but the late fee is still payable.
How can I insure my loans will disburse on schedule? There is a critical step yet to complete to insure that your loans are ready to go and mark your calendars now to be on the lookout for this in mid July. After July 1 our office will certify the loans you’ve accepted with either the Department of Education (for federal loans) or Yale’s Student loan office (for our own Graduate and Professional International Loan or Perkins loans). When the certification is complete and the loan established you will then get an email from Student Financial Services that it is time to complete the loan paperwork which will include a promissory note and other supplementary documents such as truth in lending statements (TILAs) and entrance counseling session (which are not counseling sessions at all but an online information survey that you participate in and sign off on). Documents will differ depending on what type of loan you have- some will be on the www.studentloans.gov website (Direct Unsubsidized and Grad Plus loans) some will be available right from SIS (Yale GPI Loan and Perkins). Also note that you will need to complete separate promissory notes for each loan (including both the federal Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate Plus loans). Please wait for the email with instructions before going out to any website and doing the prom note on your own as its critical that it link with the completed certification loan (otherwise it hangs out there and goes no where)
When will my financial aid disburse? By federal regulations the earliest aid (both loans and institutional scholarships) can disburse is three business days prior to the first day of the term (for us the first day of the term is September 5, 2012). There are no exceptions to this rule ever. So what this means is that you need to come to New Haven with ample funds to get yourself established including rent (and security deposit), furnishings and food (New Haven has a lot of really good, cheap places to eat – talk to a local for tips).
How do I get a refund of my financial aid funds if I borrowed money to live on? We’ve already established that the aid comes in the three days prior to the start of the term. Then the direct Yale charges (tuition,fees and health) post against the financial aid and, (if your aid is more than the charges) generates a credit balance which has to be refunded to you directly. By federal regulation an institution has 14 days from the first day of the term to provide you the refund and Yale does an exceptional job of getting it to you as quickly as possible even as early as the first day of the term. But again because there is no set or guaranteed date for the refund make the necessary allowances in your cash flow to survive. To expedite your actual receipt of the refund there are two important steps. First, set up automatic deposit on the SIS system so that refunds are deposited directly into your personal checking or savings account. Second you must actually request the refund on the SIS system (i.e. the credit balance in and of itself will not generate a refund automatically). That’s a step that get’s missed alot and something you have to do each term and each time you want the refund to generate. Check out Student Financial Services website for detailed instructions on the automatic deposit and refund request process: http://www.yale.edu/sfas/financial/accounts.html.
That’s an abundance of information to digest so I will stop there. As you transition in (or back) to YLS don’t hesitate to ask questions (I readily admit that the financial aid process is overwhelming). The best way to reach our office during this summer period is using our main number 203- 432-1688 and our main email firstname.lastname@example.org given staff vacations and summer hours but there is always someone checking that phone and that email who will respond right back to you. You’ve all done a great job of negotiating the financial aid process… just make sure you finish out the final steps and you will be in the money!
Next Blog- Life Beyond Ramen Noodles- budgeting your refund to live well.