Disbursement involves posting the amount of financial aid for which you are eligible to your student account. Disbursements follow this pattern:
- The Cashiers Office bills you for educational charges through your student account;
- When applying for financial aid, you set your authorization preferences. These preferences determine whether we can pay current and/or up to $200 of prior non-institutional charges (e.g. parking fees; library fines, etc.) with your financial aid;
- After you are awarded financial aid, the amount is posted to your student account;
- The system uses your financial aid to pay all of your institutional charges (tuition, fees) as well as any non-institutional charges you approved in step 2. The amount of money you have left over is known as your "refund." Note: some disbursements may be less than the amount owed and no refund will be available at all;
- We transfer your refund to BankMobile and they send you the money by the method you selected: direct deposit to your checking account or to a BankMobile Vibe checking account. (Need help setting up your preferences?)
- You can check your student account on the myCuesta portal to confirm that your aid has been disbursed;
How We Disburse Aid
While we award and disburse financial aid by semester (term), there are different disbursement rules for each type of aid.
General disbursement rules:
- We disburse federal grant aid (Federal Pell Grants and SEOG) the week before classes when possible. If it is not possible for a certain term or semester to disburse the week before classes, the disbursement will take place in the first week of the semester. If a program requires a second disbursement in a term (e.g. Federal Pell Grants), the second disbursement may occur in the midpoint of the term.
- Pell Grants can only be received at one institution. If you receive Pell elsewhere, your award here may be cancelled and you will have to pay back the amount you received.
- We do not permit any advances. Application review, verification (if the student is selected), and awarding of aid must be completed before we will disburse aid.
- We disburse aid directly to a student's Cuesta College account first (except work-study payroll checks). The Cashiers Office will pay any eligible charges before refunds are processed.
- We make awards with the assumption of full-time enrollment (12 or more credit hours). If you drop classes before the “freeze date,” Cuesta will bill you for the portion of enrollment-based awards (especially the Federal Pell Grant) for which you no longer qualify.
- If you add classes after the “freeze date,” they will not count towards your unit total when calculating your award amount. Enroll in classes as early as possible.
- Classes have to have begun in order for us to count the credits for the purposes of financial aid. Late-start classes, for instance, will not count towards the 12 units until they have begun.
- Enrollment levels are the same in all terms at Cuesta. For financial aid purposes, full-time enrollment in summer is considered to be 12 credits just like it is in fall and spring.
Rolling adjustments and unit requirements
The aid you receive may vary from announced award amounts for many reasons, including a change in enrollment status, late start enrollment for courses, loan fees, and/or a change in basic eligibility.
Award amounts will fluctuate as you add and drop classes, but we make a final adjustment on a financial aid census date known as the “freeze date.” This date is usually on the fifth Monday of the term. We ignore any fluctuation in enrollment that occurs after the freeze date, and any registration that takes place after the freeze date will not result in additional credits towards the term total for financial aid purposes.
Most programs have an enrollment requirement or prorate amounts based on enrollment. The following programs have set requirements:
Federal Pell Grants
- Maximum award if enrolled in 12 units, otherwise prorated.
- Less than half-time enrollment (0.5 – 5.5 credits) uses a different cost of attendance,
so some Pell recipients will not qualify for aid for this level of enrollment.
Federal Direct Loans
- Student must be enrolled in six units to be awarded and all six units must have started before disbursement can be made.
- First-time borrowers have a 30-day delay from the first day of enrollment to their
- Maximum award if enrolled in 12 units, prorated amounts for three-quarters and half-time enrollment
- No eligibility if enrolled less than half-time (0.5 – 5.5 credits)
- Additional FTSSG grant awarded if enrolled in 12+ units
- Additional CCC Completion Grant awarded if enrolled in 15+ units and funds are still available
Cal Grant, Full-Time Student Success Grant (FTSSG), and Completion Grant payments
We will pay all Cal Grant funds after the freeze date so that we can define the proper enrollment status of the student prior to payment.
Late start classes
We disburse many kinds of aid in increments based on enrollment. Students may receive only a partial payment in the beginning of a semester if he or she has enrolled in late start classes.
For example: Bob registered for 4 classes—each worth 3 credits—making him a full-time student in fall. Three of his classes (9 credits) begin on August 20 and the other class starts October 1. In this case, Bob 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.
Stale-dated refund policy
Cuesta disburses your funds to BankMobile according to the rules listed above. If you do not claim these funds and you are still eligible to receive them, we will continue to attempt to give you these funds for 240 days from the date of the original disbursement. After that date, we will modify your award and return your funds to their source.
If BankMobile sends you an EFT (direct deposit) and it is rejected OR if BankMobile sends you a check and it is returned to sender, we will quit attempting to deliver the funds by 45 days from the time of the rejection/return.