The Importance of Having Refund Options

In Brief:

  • Having refund options provides flexibility and positively impacts international students

  • Students and families are allowed to pick different ways to receive their refunds, making it convenient for everyone’s current situations

Blog Post

Refund options

When students receive government money from FAFSA submissions or student aid, sometimes they receive more than is needed for tuition. At that point, the remainder of that money is owed to the student directly. Both domestic and international students rely on these extra funds to help with ancillary items such as off-campus housing, books, and transportation to and from campus. It’s more important than ever that students have quick access to these funds when they come available and institutions need federally-compliant ways of delivering this to their students. Nelnet Campus Commerce provides convenient and accessible refund options for students, their families, and the institution.

Jennifer Tobey, Nelnet Campus Commerce refund product owner, said schools can select between paper check, direct deposit, or a reloadable debit card to offer to their students as refund options.

Cindy Morehouse, associate bursar at Cornell University, said they have seen positive results since implementing the Nelnet Campus Commerce Refund solution.

“The majority of our students who receive refunds are on direct deposit – and that’s going up every day,” Morehouse said.

Refund options are especially essential during the pandemic, said Jill Rong, Nelnet Campus Commerce product manager.

There may not even be part-time job options or temporary jobs available to students. Unfortunately, many students thought they would have these job options at the start of a term to help pay for their higher education. Institutions have had to shift in ways that have never happened before. A no-contact refund solution is especially important today to ensure our community is safe.

“With the Cares Act and distance learning, allowing students to choose the refund option that works best for them is important for the timely disbursement or funds,” said Rong.

Importance of having options

Tobey and Rong put together a list of three important reasons why refund options are essential for students and their families. Those reasons are:

  1. Allows flexibility
  2. Allows students and their parents to receive refund methods differently
  3. Positively impacts international students


Having multiple refund options gives students flexibility. Each student is unique in regards to their personal needs and what works best for their current situation. Students are able to select an option to receive their funds that is most beneficial and convenient for them, while balancing the busy road to graduation.

“I think it’s important for our students to be in charge of their education, and how they receive funds due to them,” Tobey said.

Different methods

Parents and students do not have to pick the same type of refund option. A student’s lifestyle is going to be very different than their parents. Keeping this in mind, Nelnet Campus Commerce accommodates by allowing refunds to be sent through different platforms. For example, a parent may want their refund received via a paper check. The student may want their refund through a reloadable debit card. Parents and students have freedom to select what best suites their situation.

International students

International students are greatly impacted by refunds of student aid. International students are able to receive their refund while being in their home country. This is really playing a role in the higher education world today because of the current pandemic and remote learning.

“I enjoy serving our institutions and student population because education is so important in life, and knowing students are working hard to get an education is very rewarding,” Tobey said.

To learn more about the Nelnet Campus Commerce refund options, visit

Author: Nelnet Campus Commerce

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