You've applied for the loan, it's been approved, and you've signed the promissory note. What’s next?
Student applying
Where is the money?

Federal student loan money doesn’t come directly to you. Rather, the proceeds are sent to the school, either by check or electronic funds transfer.

If you get a private student loan, the check might be sent to you. Ask your lender.

Then the school applies the funds to the outstanding balance on your school account, which typically includes your bill for tuition, fees, room, board, and other school charges.

Once those costs are paid, you'll receive any remaining proceeds to cover other education-related expenses.
When is the money sent?

Federal funds will not be disbursed until you enroll and, even then, the money will not arrive all at once. Lenders send money in installments — called disbursements — based on academic periods.

Private student loan funds are often sent as soon as your loan is approved.

The timing of disbursements will vary from school to school and by loan program. Under most federal student loan programs, loan proceeds to first-year undergraduates who are also first-time borrowers can't be disbursed by lenders or credited to student accounts until 30 days after enrollment.

Check with your financial aid office to learn your school's policy so you're not surprised.
Do I need to do anything?

You need to keep your grades up and attend classes. Federal law requires schools to establish standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for students receiving federal financial aid.

To keep your loan disbursements coming, your financial aid office verifies that you have met the school's requirements.

This process is called certification. If your school cannot certify that you are enrolled at least half time and are making satisfactory academic progress, you cannot receive federal funds.


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