Student Loan Ranger: How to Return Unused Student Loan Funds

Once a student accepts student loan package, funds are usually applied directly to his or her student account balance and may be applied to tuition and fees or other costs, like room and board. Loan packages are typically broken up between the fall and spring semesters. Any overage is paid directly to the student by check or direct deposit into the student’s bank account for use toward qualified educational expenses.

The Student Loan Ranger often receives reader questions, and we took the opportunity to answer this one below.

Q: I was cleaning up in the garage and found two student loan refund checks in the realm of $7,000 dated 2009 and 2010, respectively, in a box full of old school-related paperwork. However, I reached out to my former school and they claim that the money was not sent back to the lending institution and my “account” with the school has a credit of $7,000. They are now sending that money to me next week.

My question is, are schools required to send back uncashed checks to the lender after a certain amount of time has passed? I’ve been paying interest on money that I never had in the first place. Is there anything I should be asking or doing? Or should I just take this money and immediately pay off a majority of my loans?

For the answer check out the rest of the post at the Student Loan Ranger blog!

Who is the NFCC?

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) is the nation's first and largest nonprofit dedicated to improving people's financial well-being.

NFCC members help millions of consumers like you through community-based offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Each NFCC member agency has earned our seal by adhering to high standards and ethical practices designed to help you achieve financial stability.

Funding for operations and services comes from an ever-changing combination of federal, state and local government grants, as well as donations from financial industry participants and private donors.

For more on the NFCC, visit

Thank you to our funders.

The Sharpen Your Financial Focus program is an initiative of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) in partnership with a broad cross-section of supporters. Together, we are committed to increasing the financial well-being of Americans. This initiative is partially funded by Bank of America, Chase, Synchrony, Wells Fargo and other major financial institutions. We thank all funders and partners who make this program possible. For more information, visit

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