Refund Policy

I Overview

Portland Community College (College) will comply with all applicable state and federal regulations governing the delivery of refunds on student accounts. The refund guidelines that follow are established to insure the ethical, professional, and timely delivery of student account refunds resulting from:

  • A direct payment by cash, check or credit card which exceeds the total charges on that account;
  • A financial aid disbursement that exceeds the allowable or authorized charges; or,
  • An overpayment of charges by a third party sponsor or scholarship donor.

II Scope

This policy is applicable to all College personnel, students, scholarship donors and third party sponsors.

III Issuance of Refunds

Unless prohibited by law, any credit applied to a college account resulting from a removal of charges or overpayment will first be applied to any unpaid charges on that college account, even if payment of those charges is not yet due.

A. Automatic Refunds

Except as stated elsewhere in this policy (see Section VI A), refunds of credit balances that exceed the de minimis amount (see Addendum A) will be automatically issued within sixty (60) days of the date the credit occurs.

B. Refund Requests

Refund requests must be submitted to the College Student Account Services using standard communication channels. The College will exercise due diligence in verifying that the requestor is the account holder of record (see section V).  

C. Non-standard Delivery Requests

An account holder of record may request to have his/her refund delivered to another person or location. Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will be approved only if the account holder provides a written request, and the identity of the individual submitting the request is verified as the account holder of record.

D. Change of Payee Prohibited

Except as otherwise provided in sections IV D through IV F of this policy, under no circumstance will a refund be issued to anyone other than the account holder of record.

IV Overpayment

Overpayments occur when charges that were previously paid are removed, or when a payment is received in excess of the account balance. Except as provided under sections IV.D. through IV.F. of this document, the College does not accept payments in excess of the account balance. 

A. Cash, Check or Debit Card

A credit balance resulting from a direct payment on a college account that exceeds the total of charges on that account will be refunded to the account holder. If a credit balance on a college account is the result of an overpayment by check, the refund will be processed after sufficient time has elapsed to allow for the original check to clear the bank.

      B. Credit Card

      A credit balance resulting from a direct payment on an account that exceeds the total of charges on that account will be refunded directly to the credit card number used in payment.

    C. Scholarship Donor

      Funds received for scholarships will be used to pay tuition and fees before other sources of payments are applied.  Donors must provide specific written instructions regarding the disposition the scholarship award. Overpayments will not be accepted without a letter of instruction.

    1. Allowable Overpayment: The College may accept payments in excess of the student’s tuition and fees to cover educational expenses, such as books, required equipment and supplies. Excess funds may also be used for other support services provided by the College, such as parking, bus passes and on-campus child care.
    2. Overpayment Restrictions: 
      1. The College will not accept funds intended for living or other expenses. 
      2. Limits for the amount of excess funding that may be accepted will be established by the College bursar or designee.
    3. Disposition of Overpayment: If excess funds are received and the disposition is not identified, the excess may, at the College’s discretion, be made available to the student for payment of educational expenses for up to two additional terms or returned to the donor. A credit balance resulting from a scholarship payment on a student account that exceeds the authorized charges on that account will be transferred to an account in the donor's name

            D. Scholarship Commissions and Foundations

            The college may, at its discretion, establish special provisions for official scholarships or foundations.

            E. Third Party Sponsor

            A credit balance resulting from a third party sponsor payment on a student account which exceeds the authorized charges on that account will be immediately credited to an account in the third party's name. The credit balance will be first applied to any unpaid balance due on the third party's account; any excess will be refunded to the third party sponsor.

V Financial Aid Refund Delivery

A. Delivery Requirements and Restrictions

In accordance with Title IV HEA Cash Management Regulations, delivery of financial aid awards of $1 or more must be made within fourteen (14) days of disbursement on a student account. Financial aid refunds are issued electronically through the MyRefunds program at PCC. If they student does not select an electronic refund option, a check will be mailed to his/her most recent address on file. The following guidelines apply to delivery of all financial aid checks.

  1. Allowable charges as defined in the Federal Register 668.165(a)(3) for current or past terms within the same financial aid year, may be deducted from a student's award.
  2. Non-allowable charges as defined in the Federal Register 668.165(a)(3) for current or past terms within the same financial aid year may be deducted from the award if the student has provided written authorization.
  3. Financial aid awarded in a current financial aid year may be used to pay charges in a prior financial aid year if the charges are considered to be minor ($200 or less) and the student has given his/her verbal or written consent.
  4. Financial aid awarded for a prior term may not be used to pay for charges incurred in a later term.

B. Additional Payments

When there are payments other sources in the same term, financial aid will apply before  and those payments received from the other sources will be applied first to any non-allowable charges, and refund of any remaining credit balance will be determined by the payment method. 

C. Rescinding Authorizations and Disputes

A student may rescind the authorization to apply his/her financial aid award to charges defined as non-allowable by Title IV Cash Management Regulations at any time. The decision to rescind must be provided by the student in writing, and will be in effect from the date the notice is received forward. If the student files a written dispute with the Financial Aid office concerning the payment of non-allowable charges from his/her financial aid award for a given term, and there is no record of written authorization or consent on file, a refund will be issued within 14 days for the amount of funds that were applied to non-allowable charges.

VI Unclaimed Checks

It is the responsibility of the student to notify the College of any address change. If the check is returned undeliverable by the post office, reasonable effort will be made to locate a new address for the student. A notation that the check has been mail-returned will be made on the student account.

A. Unclaimed Financial Aid Refunds

A financial aid award is considered to be unclaimed if it is mailed and returned or if it was delivered but not cashed for ninety (90) days from the original date of issuance. Unclaimed awards shall be processed as follows:

  1. The Accounts Receivable office will place a stop payment on the unclaimed financial aid refund check; the original check or check image will be sent to and retained by the Accounting and Financial Aid offices.
  2. The process to recoup unclaimed awards is determiend by the Financial Aid Office based on the type of award:
        • Bank Loans: The full amount of the loan will be returned to the originating lender.
        • State or Federal Grants: The full amount of the grant award will be credited back to the appropriate fund.
        • Institutional Loans: The full amount of the PCC loan will becredited back to the appropriate fund.

B. Unclaimed Student Refunds

In accordance with ORS 098.352 and OAR 141-045-0061, any check that has not been cashed after a period of two (2) years is an unclaimed check. Unclaimed checks will be reported and paid to the Oregon Division of State Lands (ODSL) each year between October 1 and November 1. The college will exercise due diligence prescribed by the ODSL as follows:

  1. Refunds over $100: Not less than 90 days prior to filing the report, a written notice will be mailed to the student of record.
  2. Refunds less than $50: The College may report checks of less than $50 in aggregate.
  3. De minimis Refunds: No reporting or payment is required on unclaimed checks that fall below the de minimis amount (see Addendum A).
  4. Confidentiality: The College will keep records of unclaimed property confidential beginning 12 months before the reporting period and for 24 months after reporting.
  5. Records Maintenance: The College will maintain records and documentation related to unclaimed property reports and location efforts (due diligence) for five years after reporting.

C. Claims

A student may claim a refund, which has not been turned over to ODSL or recouped by the Financial Aid office, by presenting acceptable identification (see Section V) to the Accounts Receivable office.

VII Certification

By endorsing a refund check, the student certifies that he/she is entitled to the funds and agrees to return any amount remitted in error which is not rightfully his/hers.

VIII Refunds Issued in Error

The College has the right to reclaim refunds issued in error. Should this occur, a stop payment will be placed on the check and the student of record will be notified of the reason. In the event that the check has already been cashed, a written request for return of the funds will be provided to the student. Students will have thirty (30) days to repay the College before collection effort is initiated.

IX Suspicious Activity

Suspicious activity related to college account refunds will be reported to the proper authority for further investigation, which may include but is not limited to bursary division management, dean of student development offices, financial aid, public safety, the college auditor, and/or the federal Office of the Inspector General.

Issued by: Portland Community College, Administrative Services Division, Financial Services, Office of the Bursar
Adopted: December 30, 1996, Most Recent Update: January 24, 2012