Credit balance refund policy

A credit balance occurs where the total of all payments is greater than the total of all tuition fees, related charges and costs that are due. A credit balance is also known as an overpayment and is different from a credit note.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the University Tuition Fee Policy.

Any credit balance on a student’s fees account with Finance will be carried forward to future academic years reducing the tuition fees and any related charges and costs that will become due. Any credit balance for students with an approved interruption of study or who have deferred study to a future year will also be retained until study resumes or begins. Students on an interruption of study remain liable to pay any outstanding fees which may be due at the point of interruption.

Students, sponsors, scholarship or loan providers must not intentionally overpay the tuition fees and related charges and costs due to the University in order to obtain their living costs or circumvent any government regulation or restriction. The University is not able to act as a clearance account and must abide by UK money laundering laws.

Sponsor and Fee Definitions

Student withdrawal

In the event of a student withdrawing from a programme of study, the student must signal their intention by completing a standard University form (Withdrawal Form – Student) available at: For students who withdraw from a programme of study, an assessment and, if appropriate, adjustment in the fees due will be made. This may result in a revised invoice requiring payment, or a refund.

Students considering withdrawing from a programme of study are encouraged to contact an academic advisor, Student Administration and Finance staff and if applicable the Student Immigration Service so your decision will be based on a clear understanding of the consequences of withdrawing from all classes. In the event of non-payment, action will be taken to recover all amounts due to the University.

Once the programme of study is complete or, for withdrawn students the University's student withdrawal procedure has been correctly followed, and all tuition fees and related charges and costs have been notified any remaining credit balance of £10 or more will be refunded automatically. Credit balances of less than £10 will only be refunded on specific request. Fees paid in advance for international students who have subsequently been refused a visa are only refundable providing appropriate documentary evidence is available to demonstrate the circumstances.

You can also choose to direct any credit balance towards the University’s scholarships programme for international students, helping bright young individuals from across the world access an Edinburgh education. Our scholarship support provides a crucial opportunity for promising students with financial difficulties. Any gift, no matter how small, can help students from overseas come to Edinburgh to benefit from a life-changing education, and continue to make our campus life truly global. Email to confirm if choosing this option.

Payments from an official sponsor or educational loan provider

Students still on programme who have paid all tuition fees and related charges due and subsequently receive funding (in full or part) from an official sponsor, educational loan provider or similar third party may be able to receive a refund of the credit balance on request. Appropriate documentary evidence and/or sponsor payment will be required prior to the refund being authorised.

Where tuition fees are wholly or partially paid by a third party, the refund rules will be superseded by any relevant arrangement agreed by the University, concerning the student and the third party. This includes refunds of US Federal Loans which will be calculated according to the Return to Title IV (R2T4) regulations.

Return to Title IV (R2T4) Policy

More information

In exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the University credit balances may be refunded on request to students not covered in the categories above. Documentary evidence supporting the request may be required.

The University reserves the right to transfer the credit balance to other University charges or costs owed by the student.

In all cases the refund will be made to the original payee. This may be the student or a person or organisation paying on the student’s behalf such as a parent, employer or scholarship provider. 

If documentary evidence is required we will explain what we need to see and where the information is to be sent. Refund requests will be unable to be completed until all necessary information has been received.

This policy does not cover:

  • non-refundable tuition fee deposits
  • Accommodation fees
  • other fees, charges and costs in relation to use of University facilities or the provision of resources and services

Refund methods

Where the original payment was made by debit or credit card then the refund amount will be sent to the card used to make the original payment. If the card has expired then the Income Section will contact the student to arrange the refund by bank transfer, for all other payments the refund will be by bank transfer.

  • the Income Section will endeavour to refund all eligible students within 4 weeks
  • all refunds will be calculated in UK Sterling but may be refunded in the currency of the original payment. The University will not refund any shortfalls due to exchange rate fluctuations, or offer compensation for any bank or other charges incurred.
  • refunds will NOT be provided in cash

Related Links

Accommodation Services