August 16, 2011

Students to boost local economy with aid refunds

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – As Carbondale gears up for the return of thousands of Southern Illinois University Carbondale students, those students are getting ready to start a new academic year and also boost the local economy.

Terri Harfst, director of the SIUC Office of Financial Aid, said the number of financial aid refunds in the first round, issued this week, totaled 5,966.  That equates to about $18.8 million distributed to more than 5,800 students and approximately 127 parents, through the Parent PLUS Loan.

“We will continue to process refunds twice a week this week and the next two,” Harfst said, noting the refund processing will drop to once a week after that. 

Financial aid includes grants, loans and scholarships.  The University credits the money to the students’ accounts, first paying off charges such as tuition, fees and on-campus room and board. Students who have more financial aid in a given semester than direct University charges receive a refund.

Students typically use the refund money locally to buy books, pay for rent and utilities or for other education-related expenses.

SIUC strives to remain affordable and accessible for students.  Financial aid, in any of its various sources, bridges the gap between what students can afford and the cost of a University education.  In fiscal year 2010, SIUC administered more than $182.6 million in undergraduate financial aid, and more than $99.3 million in graduate student financial aid.

New students begin moving into on-campus housing on Aug. 17.  The fall 2011 semester begins Aug. 22.