College finances are important….and they can be complicated! Use this information to stay up-to-date. With a little practice, these tips and tools can help you manage your finances successfully.
At a minimum, we recommend that you check CalCentral regularly to make sure you stay current about your financial situation and updated balance.
- Tracking Your Charges and Your BalanceThe Billing and Payment Services Office will produce a monthly statement for each student. You are sent an email when your bill is ready each month. Please pay charges due on time, or you may incur late fees and/or registration holds. You can "delegate" access to parents or relatives to view your financial aid and any outstanding balances through CalCentral. Remember, your bill is a monthly snapshot, just like a credit card bill or bank statement. It won’t reflect any new activity between bills. Aid payments may take up to two days to be reflected on your bill from the time they appear in the online finances system.
- Tracking Your Financial Aid DisbursementsYou can review the types of aid for which you may be eligible in CalCentral. After your aid is applied towards your billing account, you will be able to see it reflected on the Billing Summary in CalCentral. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office releases financial aid no sooner than 10 days before the start of instruction, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. You can check on the status of your aid by visiting Cal Student Central or checking CalCentral. Please note that the July and December bills may not show your financial aid payments for the upcoming semester, including loan disbursements, as those financial aid payments are processed after the July and December bills are generated.
- Paying Balances Not Covered by Financial AidIf your financial aid payments do not cover all of your charges, you are responsible for paying the remaining balance. You can use any one of the available payment options. The Billing and Payment Services Office also offers a Fee Payment Plan (FPP) that allows you to pay your semester tuition and fee charges on a monthly plan. Information about this can be found on CalCentral.
- RefundsIf your financial aid payments exceed your charges, the extra funds will be issued to you as a refund about one week after payments are posted. Refunds are issued as early as one week before the beginning of each term. The actual timing of your refund depends on when your financial aid is applied to your account. Check CalCentral and monitor your aid payment dates so you can estimate the date of any expected refund. You will get an email letting you know when your refund is available either via Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or as a paper check available for pickup at Cal Student Central. Note: UC Berkeley does not require that students open an account with any financial institution. Students may choose to receive credit balances, or refunds, through any banking institution of their choice or via a paper refund check.
- Avoid Waiting in Line For Your Refund: Sign Up for Direct DepositDirect deposit (aka Electronic Funds Transfer [EFT]), is safe, fast, and reliable! Students are encouraged to authorize Berkeley to deposit refunds or financial aid disbursements directly into their specified bank account. To sign up, log in to Student Direct Deposit, or learn more about direct deposit. Direct Deposit/EFT activation may take up to seven business days. Until Direct Deposit/EFT is activated, paper refund checks are printed and held for you to pick up at Cal Student Central, 120 Sproul Hall. Remember, an email will be sent letting you know when your refund is available either for pickup or Direct Deposit/EFT. Be sure to keep your contact information current via CalCentral.
- Other Departments Award DisbursementsPlease contact your department or the Graduate Fellowships Office for questions about fellowships, departmental awards, fee waivers, and fee remissions that have not posted as expected. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office does not have information about these award disbursements. If you have received fellowships, departmental awards, fee waivers, outside awards, or fee remissions, your unpaid loans may have been reduced prior to your paid loans. This may result in an uneven distribution of funds across terms. Check online to see if your loans have been unequally disbursed, as this will affect the total refund you receive.
- Still Have Questions?If you have questions about your financial aid or your statement, please contact Cal Student Central, 120 Sproul Hall.