A-to-Z Index

4120 - Financial Aid Accounting

Effective Date: July 1, 2009


Table of Contents:

    .100 General
      .110 Need-Based Financial Aid Programs
      .120 Direct Application of Aid
    .200 Control Responsibilities
      .210 Department
      .220 Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
      .230 University Business Office
    .300 Processing Procedures
      .310 Department
      .320 Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
      .330 Office of Student Financial Services

.100 General

James Madison University administers a wide variety of student financial aid programs and funds. State and/or federal laws and requirements govern most of these programs. This section outlines the responsibilities and procedures necessary to allow the University to comply with those requirements. Information in this section applies to all departments involved in the administration of financial aid funds.

.110 Need-Based Financial Aid Programs

Many of the aid programs administered by the University are "need-based". This means that the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships makes an analysis of the student's available resources and income. The portion available for educational purposes is compared to the anticipated educational expenses. The difference is considered unmet need. The student's financial aid award is then determined based upon this unmet need. Any awards, scholarships, or college work-study employment received after the calculation of this need may affect the amount of award that a student is entitled to receive from need-based financial aid programs. Since the University is ultimately responsible for any amounts improperly awarded in need-based programs, it is extremely important that departments comply with the following procedures.

.120 Direct Application of Aid

Many of the University's financial aid programs have a large number of award recipients. To facilitate the processing of these programs, the University has developed an automated process called "direct application of financial aid".

The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office initiates this process by entering approved financial aid awards for individual students into the Student Information System. Various departments use these entered awards in calculating the amounts personally due from each student. Then, at a designated time, coordinated between the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and the University Business Office, direct application of specific aid program(s) are processed.

This process disburses the financial aid and creates an account entry for posting to the student's financial account. Once these entries are reconciled to disbursement data and funds available, the entries are actually posted to the student's account. The University Business Office then processes credit balances created from overpayment of institutional charges (tuition and fees, room and board). These refund entries are posted to Accounts Payable by an electronic download process.

Finally, the University Business Office completes the paperwork to formally request the processing of the download and to generate a single check to the Treasurer of Virginia to cover charges paid by the aid application. The student then receives notices of their rights to cancel the aid award (loans only) and is notified that either 1) a direct deposit to their bank account has been made, or 2) a check has been processed and will be mailed to their home address.

.200 Control Responsibilities

.210 Department

• Contacts the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to explain the awards contemplated in order to determine the impact, if any, of the proposed award on the student's need-based financial aid and outline the provisions for distributing the money to the student.

• Processes and returns all documentation required by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and the University Business Office for aid disbursement.

• Contacts the University Business Office immediately to establish an exact date for the award, if necessary.

.220 Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

• Administers all financial aid programs in accordance with Federal, State and University regulations.

• Assists students and departments by explaining procedures and providing necessary forms.

• Determines the impact of proposed awards on the student's need-based financial aid package.

• Determines the eligibility of the student to receive financial aid funds.

• Conducts exit interviews with Stafford Loan fund recipients.

• Notifies the University Business Office of the eligibility of students for an aid program so that awards are credited to the student's account and individual student refunds generated at the appropriate time.

.230 University Business Office

• Administers all financial aid programs in accordance with Federal, State and University regulations.

• Provides University departments and other state agencies with forms and instructions for the aid disbursement procedure.  

• Administers required billing and collection procedures in accordance with Federal, State, and University policies.  

• Approves exceptions to the daily procedures, as appropriate. 

• Conducts exit interviews with Perkins and Nursing loan fund recipients.

• Ensures that financial aid funds are on hand prior to disbursing awards.

• Issues refund checks to students or lending institutions, as appropriate.

.300 Processing Procedures

.310 Department

• Provides information regarding the amount, type of aid to be awarded, and proposed recipients to the Office of Student Financial Services and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

• Approves and returns required forms, with proper authorizations, to the University Business Office and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for processing.

.320 Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

• Determines eligibility of students for awards.

• Determines the amount of award to which each student is entitled.

• Enters proposed and approved award amounts in the Student Information System.

• Notifies the University Business Office when awards can be applied and refunds issued.

.330 University Business Office

• Verifies Aid Disbursement-Preview received from Office of Financial Aid.

• Verifies availability of funding for proposed student aid awards.

• Provides department/agency with the appropriate forms and instructions required for aid disbursement.

• Verifies department/agency authorizations on prepared forms (Agency Transaction Vouchers, and Invoices).

• Enter appropriate information into Student Financial Information System to apply aid to students' accounts.

• Deposits the University portion of applied aid in the appropriate bank account and distribute revenue to the proper department and revenue source codes.

• Requests and verifies refunds for students, either through direct deposit to a bank account or by check request to the student's home address, as appropriate.