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Financial aid credits are divided equally between the number of terms in the academic year. For most students, aid credits will be applied to your student account in two equal installments, one in the fall and the other in the spring.

Actual Credits

An actual financial aid credit is a credit that has already been disbursed and posted to your student account. In the case of a loan, this means you have e-signed all of your promissory notes and the lender has electronically transferred the funds to your account. Loan promissory note e-signing and loan disbursement usually happens in the late summer or in mid-September, depending on the loan type. In the case of an HLS Grant, an actual disbursement of funds means that we have finalized your grant amount and funded it from one of our endowed scholarship accounts. This does not happen, generally, until early November upon the completion of the Fall Financial Aid Update Process, which occurs during the months of September and October.

Anticipated Credits

An anticipated financial aid credit is a credit that is expected to post to your student account at a future date. Anticipated financial aid credits are based on what our office has on record as aid awarded to you at a given time. This data is sent to the central Student Financial Services Office for posting to your student account as an anticipated credit. We update anticipated aid credits with central on a regular basis.

The following funds will be posted to your student account as anticipated aid: HLS Grant, Direct Stafford Loans, Harvard Law School Loans and Perkins Loans, and supplemental loans which are secured (meaning that you have initiated the application process for that specific loan) such as GradPLUS loans or HUECU loans. In addition, outside funding (such as external scholarships and VA funding) that is disbursed directly to the school may be posted to your student account as anticipated aid. Funds that are not secured, such as the “Optional Supplemental Loan Offer” or the “Required Supplemental Base Loan,” are not posted as anticipated aid because you must first secure these funds by selecting a loan source and completing a separate application process.

Since the disbursement of aid happens at different times over the course of the fall term, we allow anticipated financial aid credits to offset outstanding fall charges on your student account. In fact, when you review your student account, you will find that if you have anticipated aid on your account, the final amount due has been adjusted to reflect these pending credits. As actual financial aid credits are disbursed to your student account, the amount of remaining anticipated aid will decline by an identical amount to offset the actual credit. For the spring term, actual financial aid credits usually will be posted during the first billing period for the spring term.

It is important to understand that anticipated financial aid credits are not the same as an official offer of aid. Any aid that is reflected on your student account as anticipated aid should reflect aid that has already been awarded to you by our office, and should also be viewable on the SFS Self-Service Portal. While we strive to ensure that all anticipated aid listed on your student account is accurate and up-to-date, due to the complicated nature of the process and to the fact that our office does not administer the billing system internally, we reserve the right to fix any errors in awards or transmission that may be discovered at any time.