By Linnea Cavallo (Whetstone contributor)

When senior Kaitlin Evans moved off campus this semester, she needed a way to pay for her rent, utilities and groceries for her house. For her, the answer on how to do this was easy – use the money the school gives back to her to pay for it.

When Evans pays for her tuition through federal loans, she pays Wesley more money than the tuition costs, which means the school owes her money.

“When a student applies for federal aid, they are allowed to borrow more money than is needed for tuition,” said Interim Chief Financial Officer Alan Russell.

The money that the school owes the students is given back in a “refund check.” These checks can be used for whatever the student needs. Many students use these checks for living expenses.

“We are required to refund the student anything over and above what they owe,” Russell said.

This semester, students should receive their refund checks by Feb. 15.

When the federal aid or loans are greater than the cost of the tuition, the school is required to provide the students with their money within 14 business days.

Once the school has given the checks to the students, they may do what they please with the money.

“I use the money I get from my refund check for the cost of living at the house I just moved into,” Evans said.

Senior Kim Juhas uses her money for the same thing.

“I use the refund check to pay for rent and bills because I would rather live off campus,” Juhas said. “The only way I can afford it is by using that money.”

Not every student uses these refund checks for school-related bills. Senior Lisa Antonelli used hers for a school trip.

Antonelli has been on many of the history department trips. Although she has been a chaperone and got a discount, she still needs a little more cash to pay for them. She uses her refund checks to pay the rest of the trip that she can’t afford and for spending money.

“Since I don’t live on campus, my federal loans cover more tuition than I have to pay,” Antonelli said. “So, I use some of the refund check to pay for the school trips.”

Although these checks may seem like free money, they aren’t. The check is still part of a loan the student has to pay back.