After you apply for financial aid and complete the process of receiving an award letter and selecting the financial aid you want to use for your education, you’ve jumped through most of the big hoops. One of your next questions might be when and how you’ll get your awarded financial aid. One option for financial aid disbursement involves a check, which you will receive from your school. Cashing your financial aid check could help tackle some of your day-to-day financial issues.

Wait for your school to apply your financial aid award to your financial obligations at your school. These obligations include tuition, academic fees, books, and room and board. Schools have individual policies and schedules for handling financial aid, so check with your school's financial aid office if you have questions about disbursement.

Pick the check up at your school’s financial aid office or wait for it to come in the mail. Your school will mail it to whatever mailing address it has on file with your student information.

Endorse the back of the check with your full name as it appears on the front of the check. Take the check to your bank and present it to a bank teller to cash it. As with any other check, you'll likely be asked for photo ID, so have it ready.

Tip

Check-cashing policies vary among banks. If the financial aid check is from a different bank, your bank might make you deposit the check instead of just cashing it. The money will be available to you for withdrawal within one to two business days. Another option for cashing the check is to take it to the bank from which the check is drawn. Expect the bank to ask for identification before handing you over the money, however.

Instead of dealing with the hassle of cashing checks, arrange an automatic deposit with your school’s financial office. You’ll need to give your school your bank’s nine-digit routing number and your checking account number. In addition to the time-saving convenience of not having to go to the bank so often, ACH transactions typically are completed faster than check transactions.

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