What happens during (and after) school certification?
After your loan is approved, and you have accepted the terms, signed the loan documents, and (if asked) provided documents to verify your identity, your loan is sent to your school for certification. At this point in the process, you’re done until we hear back from the school.
During certification, your school will confirm several things, including:
- Your enrollment status (half-time or full-time)
- Your anticipated graduation date
- Your grades – that you are making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) according to their definition
- Your requested loan amount – that the loan funds won’t exceed your school’s calculated maximum cost of attendance (COA) minus any aid or other loans you already received for that semester or term
Your school can certify the loan as-is, certify the loan with changes, or not certify the loan at all. When certifying a loan with changes, your school can lower the amount of the loan if it exceeds the max COA minus any aid or other loans, or they could adjust things like your expected graduation date. Your school cannot increase the loan amount.
During certification, your school also sets the date(s) for when they want to receive the money.
The whole certification process typically takes at least 7 to 10 days – sometimes more. It depends on your school’s procedures and the time of the year. For instance, January and August are extremely busy months due to the amount of loans schools receive to be certified.
Once we receive the loan back from your school, then we produce the final disclosure right away.
Once we produce the final disclosure, we have to allow time for you to receive it and for the federally mandated right-to-cancel waiting period. This typically ends up being about 7 days before we can send (“disburse”) the money to your school.
No matter what, we will notify you along the way by email (and text message if you chose to provide a cell phone number) of what you need to do and when disclosures become available for your review.
In many cases, once your school certifies your loan, they treat the balance as paid – even though they haven’t actually received the money yet – because they’re aware of the waiting periods that exist. In other words, usually if your school has certified your loan, you will not be dropped from classes; however, this is not always the case. If you are concerned and/or a deadline is approaching, you should work directly with your school’s financial aid office – never assume!