Refund Policies

Refund Policies

Refund Requests

To submit a refund request regarding your financial student account, please complete the Student Refund Request Form*

*Must be logged into your SMC Account*

**Paper check refunds will only be processed once per week. Electronic refunds (direct deposit) will be done twice a week.  To expedite your refund, please fill out the eReimbursement form on GaelXpress ( click on "Refunds, Reimbursements, AP"), which will allow you your receive your refund electronically** 

There are two types of refunds; tuition refunds resulting from SMC's withdrawal policy and credit balance refunds from student loans or overpayments. The disbursement of refunds can come by direct deposit (called eReimbursement) or by paper check.


Withdrawal from College


Requests for refunds of tuition must be made in writing by the withdrawing student. Refunds are made each term to undergraduate students in the fall and spring semester and graduate/professional students, on a semester calendar, according to the following schedule: 100% tuition refund to the end of the first week of the term; 80% tuition refund to the end of the second week of the term; 75% tuition refund to the end of the third week of the term; and 75% tuition refund to the end of the fourth week of the term. There is NO REFUND after the fourth week of the semester. Please click on the "Undergraduate Tuition Insurance" link for information about tuition insurance after the fourth week of the semester. The tuition insurance only applies to withdrawals for medical reasons.

***The GradGuard Tuition Protection Plan ( enhances and expands SMC's existing policy if a student needs to withdraw at any time during the semester.  Insurance MUST be purchased prior to the start of the term.  To learn more about GradGuard (including rates and terms of each benefit ) please visit or call (866) 985-7598***  You must purchase insurance no later than the business day prior to the first day of the Fall or Spring semester. The Plan is not available once the semester begins.

***Please Note: Withdrawing from a semester is different from dropping a class. The drop policy for dropping a class while staying enrolled in the term is 14 days after the term has begun. Students typically have two week (14 days) to change their schedules. Please contact the Office of the Registrar for the complete Add/Drop policy.

January Term and Summer Session are subject to a different (shortened) refund schedule. Please check with the Business Office for the current refund/drop policy on these terms.

Any room and/or meal refund is issued based on the terms and conditions of the Residence Hall and Dining Hall License.  Please contact the Campus Housing Office directly at (925) 631-4241 for details.

Graduate and Professional students on a semester calendar follow the same withdrawal/refund policy as undergraduate students but Graduate Business and Leadership students on a 10-week term calendar are subject to a different refund policy. Students on quarters will receive a partial tuition refund up to the third week of the quarter (80% tuition refund up to week-2 and 60% tuition refund up to week 3). No refund after week-3.  Please consult with your program director or contact the Business Office for details regarding any refund. 

Students receiving Federal Title IV aid will be subject to an earned aid calculation if their financial aid has posted to their student account prior to their withdrawal from the College. Please contact your financial aid counselor immediately.  Institutional and State aid may also be affected. ANY REFUND RESULTING FROM FINANCIAL AID ISSUED TO A STUDENT WHO HAS WITHDRAWN MUST BE RETURNED TO THE COLLEGE IMMEDIATELY.


Refund of Overpayment


Refunds will be issued on credit balances *only* after all allowable charges have been paid in full (including any payment plan). Refunds of overpayments may be requested by completing the Student Refund Request form. Personal payments (including online payments) may take up to three weeks to clear, hence, the refund will not be processed until then. Payments from third parties will be refunded to the originating source, not the student.

Once the academic term begins, refunds will be available on Wednesday (eCheck) and Friday (eCheck and paper check). Refunds will NOT be processed prior to the beginning of the term and will NOT be processed for any pending aid. Students have the option to pick up their refund, have it directly deposited to their bank account, or have it mailed to the address on file (we do not mail to residence halls or other campus housing addresses). Direct deposit is only available to students, not parents. Direct deposit or eReimbursement is the safest and fastest way to receive your refund.

During the first two weeks of each semester, refunds are held for pick up in the Business Office unless direct deposit/eReimbursement is set up. Any check not picked up within the first two weeks of each semester will automatically be mailed to the address on file (we do not mail to campus housing addresses).

Identification is required when picking up refund checks. All students must provide proof of identification, i.e. valid school ID card or valid driver's license, before the refund will be released.


Loan refunds will be made after crediting financial aid funds students have accepted against initial charges to the student's billing account including, but not limited to, tuition, payment plans, mandatory fees, food and housing, course material fees, etc., and the remaining balance (if any) will thereafter be refunded to the student - Federal Regulation 34 CRF 668.164(e).  The credit balance refunded after deduction of the initial charges on a student's billing account may not reflect additional and subsequent charges and fees that may have incurred AFTER receiving a refund of the net balance. The refund of the remaining credit balance is not intended as a final accounting of all charges incurred and any additional charges not deducted from the financial aid funds and not reflected in the balance refunded must be paid in a timely manner.

If a credit on the student account is due to a Federal Parent PLUS loan disbursement, the refund will be payable to the parent borrower unless the parent authorizes us, in writing, to give it to the student.

If the student is no longer eligible to receive financial aid or student loans, his/her account will be adjusted accordingly. Any refund received for these funds must be reimbursed to Saint Mary's College IMMEDIATELY.

Please Note:  Refund checks should be cashed promptly. Checks more than 180 days (6 months old) are considered stale and may be voided. Please check with the Business Office, Student Accounts Department, before attempting to deposit or cash any refund older than 180 days. Students who are Federal Title IV recipients are subject to Federal law which requires the College to return stale refund checks to the Federal program which generated the refund. Once these funds are returned (usually to loan programs) the College cannot request the funds again.


Electronic Refunds or eReimbursement/Direct Deposit


eReimbursement is the most efficient and expeditious way to process a student refund (this option is not available for Parent Plus Loan refunds). Your funds will electronically be deposited to the bank account of your choice. To sign up, log on to your Gaelxpress account and click on "Refunds, Reimbursemens, AP".  Complete the form with your bank account information, agree to the Terms & Conditions, then click Submit. If your over-payment results from anything other than student loans, you must make a specific refund request at the Business Office. A refund into your account does not remove any financial obligation to make payment, in full, should an adjustment result in a balance due.  If a balance occurs after the refund is deposited to your bank account, it must be paid IMMEDIATELY.

Please note: Appropriate ABA routing numbers DO NOT appear on deposit slips. Please enter the bank information on the bottom of the check or from your bank. Incorrect ABA or account numbers entered by the student will delay the refund. Electronic reimbursement is NOT available for Parent Plus loans.

Possible reasons for not receiving your refund:

  • Refunds will not be processed until the term/semester begins. No refunds will be released prior to the start of your term/semester.
  • A refund cannot be processed until there is a credit balance on your account.
  • There is a two to three week holding period for credits that result from an over-payment from a check or eCheck of any kind.
  • Refunds are not issued for students with monthly payment plans (undergraduate or graduate/professional plans) until the plan is paid in full.
  • Credits resulting from Federal Parent Plus Loans are issued to the parent borrower who took out the loan unless the parent has authorized the refund to go to the student. Credits from third party payments are also issued to the originating source.
  • A refund cannot be processed if you set up eReimbursement but the bank numbers are invalid.


Financial aid withdrawal & refund policy


Please contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships immediately for up to date information: In the event that a student drops classes or leaves Saint Mary’s College of California, an online formal withdrawal must be processed with the Office of the Registrar. The student should also contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships to fully understand any ramifications to their student aid. Please call (925) 631-4370 or email

Return of Title IV Funds is a federally mandated policy that applies only to students who receive federal financial aid and who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a Leave of Absence prior to completing more than 60% of a term. The Return of Title IV Funds policy does not apply to students who reduce their units and remain enrolled. Return of Title IV Funds will be used to determine how much aid, if any, must be returned to Title IV  programs. The Title IV funds considered in the policy are the Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and the Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan. The policy does not apply to the Federal Work-Study program.

The Return of Title IV funds calculation identifies two types of federal aid, earned and unearned. The earned aid is based on a percentage calculated by dividing the number of days the student completed by the number of days in the payment period. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point earns all disbursed (received) and disbursable aid. Disbursable aid includes aid received and the aid that could have been (but was not) disbursed as of the withdrawal date. If earned aid exceeds disbursed aid, a post-withdrawal disbursement may be made. Saint Mary’s College of California will first credit post-withdrawal disbursement not credited to school charges. Within 30 days of determination that the student withdrew, the student will be provided with a written notification of any post-withdrawal funds that are available to the student. No post-withdrawal disbursement will be made if the student does not respond within 14 days of the notification date.

Unearned aid is any disbursed aid that exceeds the amount of Title IV aid the student earned. The unearned aid amount is to be returned to the U.S Department of Education, a responsibility shared by Saint Mary’s College of California and the student. This may create a balance owed on a student’s tuition billing account. The student is responsible to pay the amount owing on their billing account.

Saint Mary’s College of California will return its share of unearned funds no later than 45 days after it determines that the student withdrew. Students must repay their share according to the terms and conditions stated in their promissory note(s). Funds returned to U.S  Department of Education by Saint Mary’s College of California will be distributed first to the Federal Unsubsidized Loan then to the Federal Subsidized Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, Federal PLUS (Parent) Loan and finally to the Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), TEACH Grant, and  Iraq/Afghanistan Service Grant.

This policy is based on 34 CFR, Section 668.22 of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1964, as amended. The formula is prescribed in Section 484(b). Please contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships for additional information at (925) 631-4370 or


Federal Funds and Non-allowable Charges

Federal law requires all federally allowable charges (tuition, fees, food, housing, lab fees, etc.) to be covered by Federal Title IV funds. Saint Mary's allows many departments to assess charges to the student accounts in order to consolidate billing - these are considered "non-allowable" charges.  Non-allowable charges might include late fees, traffic fines, health center fees, library fines and other miscellaneous fees.  Students have the option to decline this authorization of federal funds and be billed separately for the non-allowable charges. Please contact the Business Office at (925) 631-4209 or to decline this authorization.  Please note that any balance from non-allowable charges still has to be paid.


Travel course refunds


Travel deposits and travel payments are NON-REFUNDABLE. If a student withdraws from a travel course due to an emergency the student may petition for a partial refund but there is no guarantee that any refund will be available.  Petitions must be submitted, in writing, to the Jan Term Office.  Refund petitions under these circumstances will only be considered after ALL expenses related to the travel course have been paid.  Any amounts paid on behalf of the student will be deducted from the deposit amount prior to the refund (if any).


Third party or Special Billing


Special billing is available to students whose employers (or other outside agencies) pay their tuition, fees, and expenses directly to Saint Mary's College regardless of the earned grade. Students whose company or agency reimburses them directly are NOT eligible for special billing.

Refunds of third party or special billing will be issued AFTER the funds have been received by Saint Mary's College and only with permission from the third party. No refunds will be advanced to students until the funds are received, applied, and a credit balance, if any, occurs. Permission must be received by third party if refund is a result of a third party payment.


Return of Unearned Military Tuition Assistance (TA)


Saint Mary's College of California will return any unearned TA funds on a prorated basis through at least the 60% point of the term in order to comply with the Department of Defense (DOD) policy. The TA funds are earned proportionally during the student's enrollment period.  When a student stops attending, the student may no longer be eligible for the full TA award and unearned funds must be returned to DOD based on his/her last date of attendance.  If the student stopped attending because of required deployment or other military obligations, Saint Mary's College of California will identify solutions that will not result in student debt for the returned portion in compliance with government policy.

Tuition Refund Schedule- Saint Mary's College of California offers tuition refunds for students on a semester calendar according to the following withdrawal schedule:

week 1 = 100% tuition refund

week 2 = 80% tuition refund

week 3= 75% tuition refund

week 4 = 75% tuition refund

There is no tuition refund after the fourth week of any long semester (fall/spring).

Students on a 10-week term calendar receive an 80% tuition refund for withdrawals in the first or second week of the term; 60% refund in the third week of the term. No tuition refund after week-3.

Students who receive federal financial aid must ‘earn’ the aid they receive by staying enrolled in classes. The amount of federal financial aid assistance the student earns is on a pro-rated basis. Students who withdraw or do not complete all registered classes during the semester may be required to return some of the financial aid they were awarded based on the Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation. Once 60% of the term is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his/her financial aid and will not be required to return any federal funds.

The following formula is used to determine the percentage of unearned aid that has to be returned to the federal government:

  • The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total calendar days in the payment period (less any scheduled breaks that are at least 5 days long).
  • The payment period for most students is the entire term.
  • The percent unearned is equal to 100 percent minus the percent earned