Credit Balance

If you are a non-degree and/or self-paying student with a credit balance on your student account, complete the credit balance refund form to initiate the refund process.

Anticipated Credit

If a student’s financial aid and/or payments are in excess of their tuition, fees, and other charges, their student account will reflect a credit balance. Credit balance refund requests may be delayed or not processed based on some factors that students should keep in mind.

Below are examples

  • If a student has an outside scholarship, fellowship, or sponsorship that is anticipated, a refund will not be processed until actual disbursements have occurred (This does not include Harvard scholarships).
  • If a student has a federal loan and/or a supplemental loan but they are missing a document such as a promissory note or entrance interview, a refund will not be processed until all necessary documents are received. (Actual disbursement is not required if documents are received.)
  • Student loans (federal and private) require at least half-time enrollment status (10 credits in the fall and spring terms). A student who is not enrolled in the minimum required credit loads for their financial aid eligibility will not be able to receive their refunds. If a student changes their enrollment status from full-time to part-time, they should contact our office to ensure that this will not impact their awards.
  • Combined scholarships (within Harvard and outside) cannot exceed tuition and fees. If a student has a credit balance due to scholarships only, refunds will not be made to the student, but instead to the scholarship sponsor.

Our office will process refunds automatically to degree students with financial aid that appears to exceed tuition and fees for the academic year. If you are expecting to receive a refund for living expenses and have a U.S. bank account, sign up for direct deposit in the Student Accounts section of the my.harvard portal.

Domestic and international loan borrowers must complete the required loan documentation to secure their particular loan funds in order to receive a refund.

If a domestic student borrowing a federal loan would like the Office of Financial Aid to hold any portion of the credit balance on their account, they must complete the Permission to Hold Form.   We strongly encourage students with any Federal Loans to complete this form as it authorizes OFA to hold these specific funds for non-required charges. Examples of non-allowable fees include: Harvard University Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) charges, rent, MBTA pass, library fees, course materials, late fees, parking fees, dependent insurance, etc.

Anyone eligible for a refund will receive an email communication before Orientation with the calculated amount. Refunds will be processed on the first day of classes.

  • July 7, 2021 – Summer refund processed
  • August 30, 2021 – Fall refund processed
  • January 3, 2022 – Spring refund processed

Generally, refunds are direct deposited within 2-3 business days for students with U.S. bank accounts. International wire transfers will receive the funds in 2 weeks.

Students with a credit balance that are not borrowing loans to finance their degree must complete the Credit Balance Refund Form to initiate the refund process.


Refunds are a snapshot in time. The Office of Financial Aid makes every effort to calculate refunds accurately; however there are a numbers of adjustments that could occur throughout a semester that may change an account balance. If a student’s enrollment status changes within the semester, their financial aid may be adjusted. Additionally, billing adjustments may occur, such as rent, dependent insurance, course material, and tuition adjustments. Therefore any charges or financial aid adjustments that occur after the refund is processed and that subsequently generate a balance due are the responsibility of the student to pay.  Students should monitor their accounts regularly.