Getting Your Refund

Helpful info on students looking for their refunds:

Money handled by the office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (which is pretty much everything!) is “disbursed” as follows:

Essentially, your UH bill gets paid and then anything that is left can go into an account.  The default account for this is the Higher One account:




There are a lot of jobs available on campus.  These can be broken into two categories:


As part of their financial aid packages, students can receive “College Work-Study” money.  This entitles them to apply for a lot of “work-study” positions on campus.

Two important links are:


All students are eligible for other positions on campus.   Again, see career services for help.


A lot of students have questions about textbooks.  Generally, the best answer to 90% of such questions is “Ask the instructor!”  However, there are some useful tips to pass on to students:

Required vs Recommended

Buy the required books immediately, wait to see what the instructor says about recommended.

Buying the Books

The university has a contract with Barnes and Noble to run the bookstore on campus.  So – all opportunities to buy textbooks when students register etc end up being with the campus bookstore.  So, if money is not an object, the easiest thing for the students to do is to sign up online in this way.

Always opt for used books where possible.

There is one other bookstore by campus that get the book lists.    Textbook Brokers are across from the rec center.  They have the smallest collection but usually the best prices.  At the end of the semester, they also buy back a lot of “books” that the other will not.

In addition, the thrifty student will often be able to find very good deals at or other online sources.  In addition, especially for literature classes, second-hand stores around town (especially Half-Price books) are good places to look.

A lot of courses have books on reserve at the library.  This is usually NOT a good permanent alternative to buying a textbook.  However, if a book is particularly heavy, students might want to use the library version while on campus, leaving their copy at home to study there.  Of course, if the book is more of a reference book, then the library copy is a great resource.


General link at

 Tuition and Fees are due by AUGUST 18th.  If these are not paid or arrangements made, then students will be dropped from their classes.

 Students can check their bill at  There are two general situations:


In this case, students need do nothing.

The university will take out the amount owed on the first day of class. 

If there is anything left, students will receive a refund

They need to register where this refund should be sent at


In such cases, students do need to pay something by August 18th.

They can just pay the whole outstanding bill using credit card (not VISA) or electronic check online or come in person to the Welcome center.

They can enter into a payment plan:

Finally – certain special cases can apply for a waiver:


General link at :

Scholarships can be through the university or from outside sources.  By this stage, all university scholarships have been assigned and taken into account.

Outside scholarships are often an issue.  Some scholarships are given directly to the student; others are given through the university.

If a student has not received a scholarship that they were expecting, the first thing to do is contact the scholarship organization to make sure that they have done their part.

If so, then the student should contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

For future scholarship opportunities, students can try or




Financial Aid is the cause of most of the complaints and problems you will hear.  Much of this is because it CAN BE a very complicated process. 

In addition, a lot of students leave it to the last minute to apply or take care of certain things.

So that you can provide as much help to your students as possible, here is a fast summary of the important issues:


The Financial Aid office communicates with students via e-mail. E-mail will be sent to their preferred e-mail address provided at

Students can also check the status of their financial aid in many ways. The best option is to log into to look for updates. They can also call a Financial Aid customer service representative at (713)743-1010, send an e-mail to Ask Shasta, or stop by the welcome center and sign in to speak to a Financial Aid Officer (the last 3 are awfully busy most of the time!)


Students have to complete a federal form WELL IN ADVANCE of school starting (FAFSA). 

The FAFSA goes to the Department of Education for processing. They send the processed FAFSA to the student in the form of a Student Aid Report or SAR and to the University in the form of an Institutional Student Information Report or ISIR.

Once the SFA office receives an ISIR, they will review the information and notify the student via e-mail if there are any additional documents that they need in order to complete their file.

Not only might these be things left out by the student, but the Department of Education randomly selects about 50% of the students who submit the FAFSA for this process and requires UH to check the FAFSA for accuracy. All students selected like this need to submit a copy of the Institutional Verification Form (available at and a copy of their signed 2008 tax return.. Dependent students also have to submit their parent’s signed tax return. Some students may have to submit additional forms, but this will be determined on a case by case basis.

If additional documents are needed, the student needs to submit them to the SFA office ASAP so that they can continue to process your application.

If they do not need any additional documents, or if they have already been submitted and the SFA office has finished processing them, then they are awarded financial aid.

This can be in the form of scholarships, grants, loans etc as a FINANCIAL AID OFFER.

Students then have to accept this offer on

If they have only accepted grants or scholarships, there are no additional requirements.


Loan information may be found at


Most of the problems associated with financial aid have to do with students being unclear about the process or being slow in taking care of issues.

So – before you start contacting anyone, ask:

“When did you submit the Federal Form?”

“Were you asked to supply any further information?  If so, when did you do this?”

“Did you get an offer from the University of Houston Financial Aid?  If so, did you accept this?  When?”

If the answer to any of these are no, or a few days ago, then the paperwork is undoubtedly still being processed.

If it sounds like the student took care of things in a timely fashion then:

a) every student has been assigned a Financial Aid counselor.  Tell them that this person is the one they need to contact.

List is at

b) if they have an issue with their counselor, or seem like they’re at the end of their rope, then contact your EMERGENCY CONTACT.  Tell the student you’re doing this and who it is that you’re talking to.

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