I'm a college student on financial aid. When I was waiting for my Pell grant to come in, I had a balance on my tuition, but negotiated a hold with the financial aid office (since they were closed the first week of classes. I don't get why.) When the Pell grant came in, the bursar's office told me that my balance had changed to an amount that is pretty much the old balance, plus the balance of my Pell grant, and the amount they charge for a late fee. Then, the financial aid office told me I can't apply my Pell grant to the tuition balance (the opposite of what they'd told me when I had a much lower balance). Is that true? Are they jerking me around? What state/federal agency oversees the way that financial aid is handled by schools? Is there anyone else I can go to for help?
Education Law Attorney
You can check for appropriate information with the Federal Student Aid office of the US DOE. The website is listed below. Note the following:
"Grants and Student Loans: Typically, the college first applies your grant or loan money toward your tuition, fees, and (if you live on campus) room and board. Any money left over is paid to you for other expenses. You might be able to choose whether the leftover money comes to you by check, cash, a credit to your bank account, or another method."
Your school must pay you directly (for instance, by cash or check) unless you request that the school
send your payments directly to your bank account or use the money to pay for education-related charges (such as tuition, fees, and room and board) on your student account."