What exactly is a refund check?
A refund check is the amount of money you receive from the university or college you attend after your tuition has been paid. Oftentimes, your financial aid was more than you needed for your bill and as a result you receive a check for the difference.
You don't have to accept all of your financial aid
As mentioned above, a refund check is the result of having more money in your account than is needed to pay your tuition bill. This typically happens when some sort of financial aid is in play. Something to think about is not accepting the full amount of financial aid offered to you. If you know the exact amount of your tuition bill, you might consider only accepting as much as is needed to cover your bill.
It's not free money
It’s easy to think of a refund check as free money. The reality is that it’s not. Since that money was part of your financial aid package or loan, you will be required to pay that amount back, with interest.
It can be used for housing, books, etc.
In most cases, financial aid and/or loans take into account other expenses you might have in college such as housing and textbooks. If you receive a refund check, try saving it for months when money is really tight and you can’t make rent, or use the money to buy your books for the semester.
It can be used to make payments on your loan
While it’s commonly suggested to defer payments on your loan while in college, try selecting the “in-school” payment option next time. When you defer payments on your loans you end up paying more in the long run. When you make “in-school” payments you are usually making very minimal payments on the interest. That means when you get out of school you will have less money to pay off in the long run.