The University Cash Services launched eRefund allowing students to have their financial aid balance directly deposited into their bank accounts.
University Controller Robert Barker said signing up for eRefund is an easy process.
“Electronic delivery of financial aid and other student disbursements has been on our project list for over three years,” Barker said. “It has been requested by students also so they get their money more quickly and safely.”
The entire process is done through the portal under students’ personal information profile, Barker said. Students must input their savings and checking information.
Barker said banking information is encrypted to protect it from hackers and enrollment is effective in one business day. The option to change accounts, discontinue enrollment, or to re-enroll can be done at any time, he said.
Since this system is fairly new, some students are not aware of the new option, while others heard about it too late.
“I have no idea what eRefund is,” said Ann Baires, 21, a junior majoring in child development. “I didn’t check my e-mail in time and when I did, I wasn’t confident about it but next time I’ll use it for sure.”
Like Baires, senior Reyna Markham a cinema, television and arts major (CTVA) also found out late about the option.
“I didn’t find out about direct deposit until the week before school,” Markham said. “I will probably use it next time because I got my refund two weeks late (and) when I went into the office to check on it, they told me that they had already issued it and I had to wait for it to come in the mail.”
Students who were aware of the new option and signed up were able to receive their money directly in their account.
Loren Weldon, 22, a senior majoring in history said eRefund worked well for her as she did not have to wait for her check in the mail.
“It was beneficial for me because I was able to purchase my books a lot sooner,” Weldon said. “Normally I have to wait until the last minute.”
Weldon said her younger sister who attends Cal State Long Beach has used the direct deposit system since she was a freshman and has had her financial aid before Weldon even though the money is released a week after.
“She always received hers before I did because I had to wait for a check,” Weldon said. “So this semester was less frustrating in that aspect.”
Though some may not have used it, early numbers indicate eRefund was successful.
“We consider it a resounding success,” Barker said. “More than 4,500 students signed up in time to receive their financial aid disbursement electronically for the spring semester.”
Barker said the new system will help the university save money.
“It is less expensive for the campus to deliver money electronically than by paper check,” Barker said. “More importantly, students receive their money faster.”
Barker said the campus receives financial aid money from the state and federal governments a few days before the beginning of each term and that is why financial aid disbursements are made close to the beginning of the semester.
“Electronic delivery usually reduces delivery time by 1-2 days,” Barker said.