January 18, 2008

Refund checks pump $20 million into local economy

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — In the past two weeks, Southern Illinois University Carbondale mailed approximately $20.6 million in financial aid refund checks to approximately 8,470 students.

The University mailed most of its refund checks last week. The final refund check mailing went out today (Jan. 18).

Refund checks are the monies left over after a student's financial aid pays institutional bills – tuition, fees and, for those living on campus, housing. The money, including financial aid in the form of student loans, is meant for textbooks and living expenses.

Donna Williams, associate director of financial aid, said the first refund checks went out Jan. 8. The University mailed refunds totaling about $18 million to 6,281 students in that mailing.

A second mailing went to post on Jan. 11. In that mailing, 604 students received a total of $1,093,348. The third mailing was Jan. 15 to 474 students totaling $688,979. The final mailing is today to 1,111 students totaling $867,274 in aid.

Victoria Valle, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, said financial aid is important for most college students, but particularly at SIUC, where the University is especially dedicated to a mission of opportunity and accessibility.

"Seventy-three percent come here with some sort of need-based financial aid," she said.