M-Pathways: Emergency Aid Disbursements


Students occasionally need to receive their financial aid funds prior to the weekly disbursement cycle. In these instances, departments can initiate emergency aid disbursements to allow students to receive their refund checks prior to the regular delivery date.

Emergency disbursements require the coordinated effort of several office and deviate from standard practices. Emergency disbursements should be limited to situations when waiting for the next weekly disbursement schedule would cause an intolerable hardship for the student. The departmental staff are the staff speaking with the students and will determine if the student needs an emergency disbursement. Some examples of emergency financial situations are:

  • travel expenses because of family member death or sudden, serious illness
  • medical emergencies where payment is immediately needed (e.g., to purchase medication)
  • critical living expenses (e.g., imminent eviction, food or care for children, etc.)

Payment for students will be made by Accounts Payable starting April 1, 2013. If the student has direct deposit on file with the University the funds can be direct deposited. When department staff is speaking with the student they will need to determine if the student wants direct deposit or pick up at Teller Services, 2nd floor Student Activities Building (SAB). Accounts Payable indicates the funds will be in the student’s bank account and available for use the next day. Paper checks will also be available for pick up the next day by either the student or departmental staff. Only in extreme emergencies can the check be produced on the same day as the request. If the method of payment is not indicated in the email request and the student has direct deposit the refund will default to direct deposit. If the student does not have direct deposit or indicates they would like to pick the check up at Teller Services checks will be available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday after 10:00 a.m. and Thursday after 12:00 p.m.

Note: Important Information

  • The Office of Financial Aid must receive the request for the emergency disbursement prior to 2:00 p.m. to assure pickup the next morning at Teller Services.
  • The Office of Financial Aid must receive the request for group refunds a week prior to the date the checks need to be picked up at Teller Services by either a group of students or departments.

Emergency Disbursement Process

Step Who is Responsible Task to Complete
1 Awarding Office
  1. Approve funding for emergency situation and determine that the next disbursement cycle will create a hardship for the student.
  2. Check to make sure student has an active address in M-Pathways, which is required for any type of refund. (Even if the funds are to go direct deposit the student must have an active address.)
    • If the check is to be mailed to a one-time address, in the request for the emergency disbursements indicate the one time mailing address.
    • If there is not an active address, the student should be instructed to add an active address immediately via Wolverine Access.
  3. Determine the correct award has been entered into the system with the appropriate disbursement plan and split code. Remember to enter the award in the term that the funds are for. If OFA is currently not paying this term the request for the emergency disbursement will allow disbursement. In the e-mail requesting the emergency disbursement indicate aid year and term of payment.
  4. Request the emergency disbursement by e-mailing the Office of Financial Aid at sfps@umich.edu. Subject line should be EMERGENCY DISBURSEMENT with the following information:
    • Student’s EmplID
    • Student’s name
    • Financial Aid Item Type (FAIT) number
    • Amount of requested payment
    • Aid year and Term for the specific amount being disbursed
    • Reason for emergency disbursement only if same day request
    • Appropriate distribution instructions for Student Financial Services:
      • Student pick-up
      • Direct Deposit
      • Mail to student with address
      • Hold at Teller Services for department pick-up. You must present staff ID and a copy of the Emergency Disbursement email to have the funds released to department staff.


  • All disbursement rules assigned to the FAIT will be overridden.
  • A sample email is on page 4.


2 Office of Financial Aid (OFA)
  1. Disbursement override is completed. Comments are added to the student’s financial aid record to document the disbursement override request.
  2. Email sent to Student Financial Services with a carbon copy to department requesting the emergency disbursement with instructions of how the funds are to be disbursed. The email will indicate when and where the student can pick up the refund.
  3. Department notifies the student on when the funds are available.
3 Student Financial Services (SFS)
  1. Quick Refund is completed to refund Financial Aid. For funds to be direct deposited, this is the only step needed. Item type 80/200 – assuming student has direct deposit on file.
  2. Student/department to pick up check or mailed information forwarded to Teller Services for processing of check.
    80/05 – Student/Department pick up check next day
    80/07 – Cashier’s to mail to address requested by OFA

Same day refunding:

  1. In the event that an extreme emergency dictates a check being required the same business day, the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) will notify Student Financial Services (SFS)/Teller Services of the refund check to be processed, after the Financial Aid award has been credited to the account.
  2. Teller Services will process the refund check for the student through the CORE cashiering system.
  3. SFS will apply a Special Process Refund to the student account, which will relieve the credit placed by OFA. This must be done the same day to assure that the refund will not be duplicated if financial aid/disbursement is running that evening. The refund is posted as Refund method- “other” using Item Type 8000000000110.
  4. Teller Services will use a refund voucher to process through M-Pathways. The short code 371720, provided by OFA, to charge the dollar amount issued to the student.
  5. Teller Services will notify SFS by email cosprefund@umich.edu no later than the next morning that a CORE refund was given to the student. This email will come from the Financial Clerk as a result of the morning document sort. The email will contain student name, UMID and dollar amount of refund issued.
  6. SFS will confirm that the refund was posted as above.


4 Teller Services
  1. Checks will be printed at Teller Services on a daily basis based on refunds posted the previous day. Job will be initiated by Treasurer’s Office.
  2. Check to be mailed by Teller Services - Staff prints check and mails to address given by department.
  3. Check(s) to be picked up (Student/Department) – Check(s) printed and handed to student/department at Teller Services.

Note: If an emergency disbursement check is not picked up by student/department within two weeks from the request, the checks will be put in the mail.

5 Awarding Office

Informs the student of any specific instructions for receiving the funds (such as, pick-up location and office hours, how and where to negotiate the check, etc.).

Last Updated: 
Wednesday, July 25, 2018