Understanding the Bill 
Problems Paying the Bill 


Problems Paying the Bill

Q. What do I do if I can't pay my bill due to a change in my family's financial circumstances?

A. If, after receiving your initial financial aid award for the academic year, your family has experienced a significant unexpected change that affects their ability to contribute towards your education, or if you believe there are special circumstances that were not considered in the initial review of your financial aid application, please notify us in writing. Our Financial Aid Appeal Form can help you, and your family, explain and document your special circumstances. We suggest you use the Appeal Form whenever there has been a significant and unexpected change in income due to job loss, salary reduction, or a change in benefits.

In your appeal, please include, in detail, your unique circumstances, how this will impact your family's income and/or expenses and when these circumstances occurred. Provide as much documentation as possible. Examples of documentation may include, but are not limited to: letters from third-person parties, pay stubs, canceled checks and billing statements. Students will be notified, in writing, of the appeal decision approximately two weeks after the appeal was submitted. It is important to understand that submission of an appeal does not guarantee an adjustment to a student's financial aid award. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have any questions about the appeal process.

Special Note: Due to limited funds, international students should first consult the financial aid office before submitting an appeal form.

Q. What do I do if there has been no change in my family's financial circumstances, but I still need additional funds?

A. Without a change in financial circumstances or updated financial information, the Office of Financial Aid can only offer additional assistance through loans. If you would like to borrow additional funds in the student's name, we suggest that you contact our office as you may have additional student loan funds available to you through federal financial aid programs. We will provide you with the maximum loans available to you through these programs as the interest rates and repayment options will likely be more favorable than borrowing through private agencies or local banks. If federal loan programs have been exhausted and additional loan funds are desired in the student's name, we suggest that you investigate other private borrowing options. Parents may apply for a PLUS Loan through the Brown University Loan Office.

Q. What do I do if my parent(s) are unwilling to pay their contribution?

A. Brown believes that the primary responsibility for meeting educational expenses lies with the student and the family. Financial aid at Brown is awarded solely based on a student and family's financial need. Should parents discontinue their financial support for reasons other than ability to pay, Brown will not assume the parental responsibility for financial support of the student.

Students are advised to first make a reasonable effort to gain support from their parents. If this obstacle persists, students should make an appointment with a financial aid counselor. First, a financial aid counselor can determine if your circumstances warrant an exception, which is granted in very rare circumstances such as situations of abuse and neglect. Second, a counselor can advise you on your student loan borrowing options to help manage this difficult situation


Q. How does the student account refund process work?

A. If the credits on your student account exceed your direct charges, and a credit balance exists in your student account it is possible that you are eligible for a refund. The Bursar's Office processes all refunds. Please visit the student account refund section of the Bursar's Office website for details.