August 17, 2012

Financial aid refunds boost area’s economy

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale this week is distributing nearly $17.5 million in financial aid refunds, providing a significant boost to the region's economy.

The first round of fall semester federal financial aid refunds, which typically affects the largest number of students, includes 5,485 students.

More than three quarters (77 percent) of the refunds were electronic direct deposits, while the others are manual checks. In January 2012, 42 percent of the refunds were direct deposit.

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 housing costs. 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, or other education-related expenses.

The fall semester begins on Monday, Aug. 20.