Financial Aid Disbursements

The Cashiers Office bills you for educational charges through your student account. Your financial aid is disbursed directly into your student account. Before your aid is disbursed to your account, you must meet all eligibility requirements. You can check on your MyCuesta account to confirm that your aid has been disbursed to your account. Charges are billed to your account each semester.

Note: Aid is disbursed for use in a specific term. If your account has charges from a prior term, and you receive aid for the current term, only eligible charges for the current term are paid automatically.


How Aid is Disbursed

Financial aid is awarded and disbursed by semester. There are different disbursement rules for each type of aid. Generally, aid is first disbursed in the first week of the semester with a second portion (if applicable) being disbursed in the midpoint of the term. Application review, verification (if selected), and awarding of aid must be completed before aid can be disbursed. All aid is disbursed directly to a student's Cuesta College account first (except work-study payroll checks). Awards are used to pay tuition, fee charges or other educational charges.  The remaining award funds will be refunded to the student via the disbursement method that he/she chose via the myCuesta card.

Awards are originally created based on full-time enrollment which is 12 or more credit hours.  Part-time enrollment is anything less than 12 credits.  Half-time enrollment is at least 6 credit hours.  Enrollment in less than 12 credit-hours usually results in a lower financial aid refund. 

Enrollment levels are the same in all terms at Cuesta.  For example, full-time enrollment in summer is 12 credits just like it is in fall and spring. 

Disbursed aid may vary from an announced award for several reasons such as a change to a student's enrollment status, late start enrollment for courses, loans fees and or a change to a student's eligibility status.

Financial aid awards are based on enrollment status as determined on census day.  The determination of full-time or part-time enrollment status is made based on the student's enrollment as of census day.  (Census day is the last day students may drop courses or change courses from credit to audit status). Aid is disbursed in increments based on enrollment.  Students may receive only a partial payment if he or she is enrolled in late-start classes.  For example: Student A enrolled in 12 credits for the entire semester.  But, 9 credits begin August 20 and 3 credits start October 1.  In this case the student will only receive aid for 9 credits at first.  The remaining financial aid will not be disbursed until the student begins the other 3 credits on October 1.

A student must maintain financial aid eligibility for an award to be disbursed. It is important to provide accurate information at the time of application and during the application review because development of new or conflicting information throughout the academic year can affect a student's awards retroactively.


Credit Balances

Any credit balance (surplus) in your account after all charges owed to Cuesta College have been paid will be disbursed to you. Charges added to your student account after a credit balance check is issued to you will appear on your student account.


Federal/state overaward regulations and provisions apply to all students receiving federal/state need-based awards. The student's awards will be adjusted accordingly to eliminate any overaward.

Cuesta College will not reduce or cancel Pell Grant or Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) awards to eliminate an overaward situation.  In most cases, the student loans and/or federal work study funds will be reduced or cancelled.


What is an overaward of financial aid?

When the total of all aid received by the student exceeds the student's cost of attendance budget, awards in the package will be adjusted (cancelled or reduced) in order to eliminate the overaward. Federal Work-Study awards and loans will be reduced before any reduction is made to grant or scholarship awards.


Federal/State Regulatory Overaward Requirements

Federal and state need-based aid regulations (laws) stipulate that a student receiving federal or state need-based awards (see list below) cannot receive assistance (from any source) in excess of his/her gross financial need as determined by the analysis of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Federal and state need-based awards include the following:

Normally this means your student loans and federal work study awards will be adjusted downward to eliminate the overaward situation.  This adjustment of the awards is required by federal/state law if any of the above federal/state need-based awards are included in the student's financial aid package.


If a financial aid overpayment is made as a result of a student’s error or failure to report requested information, the student is responsible for repaying the amount of the overpayment. The amount of the overpayment may be satisfied by reducing the student’s federal award(s) in a subsequent enrollment period during the same award year as the overpayment was created. If the overpayment amount cannot be satisfied by deducting the amount from a future disbursement, the student is responsible for making direct restitution.

As required by federal regulations, the Office of Financial Aid will report the overpayment to the Department of Education via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) within 30 days from the date when the overpayment was created. Indication of an outstanding overpayment will be recorded on future output documents generated by the Department of Education, and may prevent the student from receiving certain types of financial aid funding.