Federal law requires that loans be disbursed in two equal portions. You can find an updated table with 18-19 school year disbursement dates here. Because tuition out of pocket costs are automatically taken out of your loan before any refunds are processed, if the first disbursement does not fully cover your out of pocket costs for the semester, you will have to wait until the second disbursement to receive a refund if you took out more than your out of pocket costs.
For example: A student has an out of pocket fall term cost of $1000. Student takes out a loan for $1400. First disbursement of the loan is half of their request ($700), which leaves the student with a balance of $300. The second disbursement is also $700, and brings the student’s balance to ($400). About a week after this second disbursement, the student will receive an email asking them to select their refund preference. A week later, the student will receive their refund via the refund preference they have decided on. The default method is a check sent to the address that the Office of Admissions and Enrollment has on file.