January 12, 2012

Financial aid refunds give boost to area economy

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale this week is distributing millions of dollars in financial aid refunds, providing a significant boost to the region’s economy.

The first round of spring semester federal financial aid refunds, typically affecting the largest number of students, includes 6,685 students receiving $23.2 million, with an additional $170,000 in “Parent Plus Loans.”

Nearly half (42 percent) of the refunds were electronic direct deposits, while the others are manual checks.

Additional refunds are expected in the next few weeks, but this initial refund round is the largest.

Federal 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 than direct University charges receive a refund.  Students typically use the financial aid refund dollars for textbooks, off-campus rent and utilities and other education-related expenses.

SIU Carbondale 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 2010-2011, SIU Carbondale administered more than $182.6 million in undergraduate financial aid, and more than $99 million in graduate student financial aid.

The spring semester begins on Tuesday, Jan. 17.