If your student account has been overpaid, a refund will be issued to you. Most often, refunds occur when you receive more financial aid than is needed to pay your bill. These extra funds are used to cover personal expenses, books and supplies. Your refund amount is determined by the amount of financial aid you accepted beyond the amount due on your statement of account.
The refund process for the upcoming term begins 1-2 days after your financial aid disburses. By law, we cannot disburse financial aid or any associated refunds more than 10 days prior to the start of a term. The fastest way to get your refund is by enrolling in direct deposit.
About the Refund Process
The refund process includes four steps: the overpayment, a hold period (also known as encumbrance), the generation of the refund, and disbursement.
- Overpayment - an overpayment occurs when the Payments/Adjustments column on your statement of account exceeds the charges column. This credit will show in the Payments/Adjustments column.
- Hold Period (Encumbrance) - each overpayment is held for a period of time prior to being refunded. This ensures that the payment is available to be refunded and reduces the risk of fraud. During this time, the held payment will show as unapplied on your statement of account.
- Refund Generation - this two-day time period is when the refund will appear on your statement of account as a Refund line item in the Charges column.
- Refund Disbursement - this is when your refund is issued to you. You can receive your refund in three ways: direct deposit, paper check, or credit card (if you paid with one). The amount of time it takes for your refund to get to you depends on the method you select.
Refund Disbursement - Enroll in Direct Deposit
The fastest way to get your refund is by enrolling in direct deposit through the corresponding To-Do List item in your My Buckeye Link account or by clicking on the Enroll in Direct Deposit button below. Refunds disbursed via direct deposit are typically in your bank account within 3 to 5 business days from the transaction date associated with the Refund line item on your statement of account.
Student Access Only
When enrolling in direct deposit, be prepared to enter your bank account and routing number. This information can be obtained from your bank.
Only you, the student, have the ability to enroll in direct deposit for your refunds; family members cannot complete this task on your behalf.
Ohio State will never automatically withdraw payment for tuition and fees from a direct deposit account on file under any circumstance.
Other Refund Disbursement Methods
Please consider enrolling in direct deposit for your refunds when feasible, as it is fast, convenient, and safe. If you are unable to receive refunds this way, you may obtain your refund through one of the following methods, depending on your situation.
Refund by Paper Check
If you do not sign up for direct deposit, you will receive a paper check refund. Refunds disbursed via paper check are printed and mailed once per week and typically arrive via USPS 7-10 business days later.
It may take up to one week after the Refund line item appears on your statement of account for your refund check to be printed and mailed.
During the academic year, your paper check refund will be sent to your residence hall if you live on campus or the Home/Current address listed in your My Buckeye Link account if you live off-campus. During term breaks and for the summer term, your refund will be sent to the Permanent Address on file in My Buckeye Link.
Refund by Credit Card
If you made your original payment by credit card, your refund will be issued via the same credit card if it is generated within 60 days of the original payment.
Credit card refunds are typically posted to your account within 3 to 5 business days from the transaction date associated with the Refund line item on your statement of account.
If a refund occurs more than 60 days after the initial credit card payment, you will receive your refund via direct deposit or by paper check, if you are not enrolled in direct deposit.
Note: we strongly discourage using gift cards to pay your bill, as a refund could potentially be issued to it if other payments, particularly financial aid, arrive after the gift card payment.
Parent PLUS Loan Refunds
If someone who supports you financially has applied for and received a federal direct PLUS loan to help you pay for tuition, fees, and room and board (if you live on campus), any overpayment resulting from the PLUS loan will be refunded based on how they designated refunds should be managed in their PLUS application.
PLUS loan refunds are most often issued as paper checks. Refunds disbursed via paper check are printed and mailed once per week and typically arrive via USPS 7-10 business days later.
Refunds resulting from a PLUS loan are marked as "PLUS Refund" on your statement of account. It may take up to one week after this line item appears on your statement of account for your PLUS borrower's refund check to be printed and mailed.
Your PLUS borrower has the option to have any refunds resulting from their PLUS loan sent to you, the student, instead. They must indicate this during the PLUS loan application process. If they have chosen this option, you will receive this refund in the same manner you receive your other refunds.
NOTE: graduate and professional student PLUS loan borrowers may receive their refunds via direct deposit, if they are enrolled.
Are you expecting a refund but have not yet received it? Check out common troubleshooting tips below. If you have confirmed that these common issues are not a problem or have been resolved, please contact Buckeye Link for additional assistance.
Check for Refund Holds on Your Student Account
A refund hold on your student account will prevent you from getting your refund. The most common types of refund hold are:
- All Registrar Hold No Refund - this hold is added to your account when a voided refund check has been credited back to your student account due to the check not being cashed before its expiration date.
- Refund Hold - this hold is added to your account when administrative review by an Ohio State office is required.
You can access details about the refund hold, including instructions to follow to release it and the appropriate office to contact with questions, by clicking on the Details link associated with the hold in your My Buckeye Link account. No further refunds will be issued until the refund hold is resolved.
Check the Payment Hold Period (Encumbrance)
Before a refund can occur, a payment must be held for a minimum amount of time to ensure funds are available to pay the refund and reduce the risk of fraud. Payments are held (encumbered) according to the following schedule.
- Federal and institutional financial aid; private loans - no hold period
- 529 College Savings Plan payments - 3 days
- External scholarships - 3 days
- Electronic payment (ACH, credit card, foreign currency wire transfer) - 10 days
- Paper check - 21 days
To estimate when your refund will generate, apply the appropriate timeline to the Transaction Date associated with the unapplied payment on your statement of account.
Confirm Payment Type is Refundable
Although most types of payment are refundable, some are not. Certain scholarships, grants, and sponsored student payments may not be eligible to refund. Depending on your specific situation, these restricted payments may apply toward your charges and a different payment will refund to you instead.
If you have questions about whether a payment is eligible to refund, please contact Buckeye Link.
Confirm Disbursement Method - Direct Deposit or Paper Check
Please consider enrolling in direct deposit for your refunds when feasible, as it is fast, convenient, and safe. If you do not voluntarily enroll in direct deposit, your refund will be sent to you via paper check.
If you are not sure whether you are enrolled in direct deposit or would like to confirm whether your refund was sent electronically or by paper check, please contact Buckeye Link.
Uncashed Paper Refund Checks
Paper check refunds that remain uncashed for 60 days after issuance will be voided and the funds credited back to your My Buckeye Link account. A hold will also be added. You will be notified of this action via email.
Please review the address on file in your account, update any incorrect information, and contact Buckeye Link to have your hold removed. You may also wish to sign up for direct deposit to ensure fast and secure receipt of future refunds.
Please do not attempt to cash or deposit a voided refund check as doing so may result in a returned check charge posted to your account. Destroy the check and contact Buckeye Link to see if a replacement has been issued.
If you have not received your refund within 10 business days after your check has been printed and mailed and wish to place a Stop Payment to prevent it from being cashed, please complete the appropriate form below and return it to the Office of the University Bursar via email or fax (614-292-1106).
A standard Stop Payment form (not Parent PLUS) must be completed and submitted by you, the student, and if emailed, sent from your OSU email account.
Parent PLUS Loan Stop Payment forms are intended for parent PLUS loan borrowers and should be completed and submitted by the borrower.
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