Refund/Cash Advance Policies

The student term bill lists itemized charges and credits throughout the academic year. If the total amount of loan proceeds, scholarships, and payments exceeds the total charges on the term bill, the student may request a refund of the credit balance and use this refund to meet non-billed educational expenses such as books, supplies, non-Harvard housing, and food.

Students who expect to have a credit balance once all anticipated aid is disbursed may apply for a cash advance against the future credit. Aid recipients may receive up to one advance per month, not to exceed the monthly living expense allowance included in the student budget.

All refund requests ordinarily are processed by the Financial Aid Office staff within five business days. Checks are issued by the Student Billing Office and are direct-deposited to the student’s bank account or mailed to the address that the student indicates on the request form.

Students should plan carefully to avoid falling short of funds during the academic year. Financial aid funds are expected to last until the end of the academic year. The student expense budget cannot be increased for students who find themselves out of money due to improper budgeting.

Refund/Cash Advance Form 

Students should complete a Refund/Cash Advance Request Form to obtain money for living expenses.

First year students may request a refund for their fall living expenses in September. Students will need to place a separate refund request in January for their spring living expenses. First year students have the option of requesting a cash advance in August upon matriculation of up to $1,130 (if living on-campus) or $2,580 (if living off-campus) to cover expenses incurred during the first month of school.

Second, third, fourth and fifth year students may request a cash advance of up to $5,160 in June to cover their July and August living expenses. Students will receive their full refund in September to cover their fall term living expenses. Students will need to place a separate refund request in December for their spring living expenses.

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