You may be eligible to use a portion of your financial aid for the purchase of books and supplies required for your courses. Read the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers below to learn more about the financial aid refund advance for books and how to use it to purchase your materials, if you qualify to access this funding.

Financial Aid Refund for Books Q&A

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What does ‘financial aid refund advance for books’ mean?

It’s the ability to access a portion of your anticipated financial aid refund early (if you will be receiving one), so you can purchase your books and supplies using your aid as payment.

Can I use my financial aid to purchase my books?

Only if you’re in an eligible standing to receive financial aid and your finalized aid for the semester is more than your tuition for the semester. (Estimated aid will not count, nor will student loans if you’ve not completed all loan borrowing steps.)

Can all financial aid recipients use financial aid for books?

No. If your financial aid is not enough to cover the cost of your tuition, you will not have a pending financial aid refund to use to purchase your books. Additionally, if your aid is more than your tuition, but you are not in an eligible financial aid standing, you will not be entitled to use your aid for your book purchase.

What does “not in an eligible standing” mean in regard to receiving financial aid?

In order to be eligible to receive the financial aid outlined on your offer letter:

Your personalized financial aid home page in Self-Service via Montco Connect will display your current financial aid academic progress standing and detail any outstanding items needed to complete your application.

How does it work?

Just before the start of classes, the College notifies the Virtual Bookstore powered by eCampus if you have a financial aid refund pending, along with the maximum amount of the portion of your refund you may use to purchase your books. This amount is then available to you as a payment option upon checking out. When the time period to use the funding expires, the amount you used will be billed to your student account so that, when your financial aid is released, it will be used to pay the amount you spent on your books and supplies along with your tuition charges.

What happens if I drop all or some of my course enrollment after using financial aid to purchase my books?

If you your enrollment status changes (for example you drop from 12 to 6 credits or drop completely), your financial aid may change and you may not have enough funding available to cover the book purchase you made. If this happens, the amount of your book purchase will remain on your student account and you will be required to reimburse the College for your purchase.

Can I use my financial aid to purchase books and supplies from anywhere I want?

No, you can only access financial aid for books at the Virtual Bookstore powered by eCampus. If your professor requires books and supplies not available through eCampus, you cannot use your financial aid to purchase them.

How will I know if I qualify for a financial aid refund advance for books?

If you qualify to use your financial aid refund advance to purchase books, you will be notified via email to your Montco student email.

When will I be able to use my financial aid refund advance for books?

If eligible, you will be notified about 2 weeks prior to the start of any 15 week courses or about a week prior to any 6, 7, or 10 week courses for which you’re registered. The email will detail how much financial aid you can use to purchase your books and the timeframe you have to use it, so pay close attention to the expiration date!

How do I use my financial aid refund advance for books?

Once you receive your notification that your funding is available to use, you must log into the Virtual Bookstore powered by eCampus using your Montco email address. After you’ve selected your books and supplies, your available financial aid book funding will be listed as a payment option. If your book advance credit does not cover the entire cost of your books, you will be required to provide a credit card to cover the remaining balance. Make sure you keep your order confirmation number in case customer service needs to look up your order.

Does my financial aid refund advance for books expire?

Yes! The expiration date will be provided in your notification email. You will not be able to use your financial aid to purchase your books after the expiration date, so make sure you place your order as soon as possible.

What happens if I don’t use all or any of my financial aid refund advance for books?

Any unused portion of the financial aid you were entitled to use to purchase books will be refunded to you after your financial aid releases to your account. Make sure you set up your refund preference to be direct deposited to your bank account so your refund is not delayed!

Where can I view my financial aid?

You can view your financial aid in Self Service through Montco Connect. Navigating to the Financial Information > Financial Aid section will allow you to access your financial offer letter, which outlines your financial aid. Viewing the Student Finances > Account Activity section will show your tuition, deduct your finalized financial aid from it, and provide you with your balance due or anticipated credit or refund (negative balance, shown in green), if you qualify for one. The financial aid you can use for books comes from that credit.

Can I sell my financial aid refund advance for books or use it to buy books for my friends?

No, you absolutely cannot! Misuse violates federal regulations and may result in loss of financial aid funding.

How much can I access in a financial aid refund advance to purchase my books?

Your available funding for books is based on the amount of credits in which you’re enrolled and the amount of financial aid you have pending. Book advance credits will not exceed the following amounts, per enrollment level:
  • 12 or more credits: $1,050
  • 9 to 11 credits: $900
  • 6 to 8 credits: $725
  • Up to 5 credits: $325
If your available financial aid to access for books is less than what is indicated above, it is because your remaining aid after your semester charges are deducted is less than the maximum allowed.

Can simple examples be provided that will help me understand if I may qualify to access my financial aid for books?

This student may use financial aid to purchase books because their aid exceeds their tuition:

       Tuition                                            $573
       Financial Aid: Pell Grant             - $812  
       Pending credit                              $239 can be used to purchase books

This student is unable to use financial aid to purchase books because their aid does not cover the full cost of their tuition (the star below means all three loan steps are complete): 

       Tuition                                             $1,146
       Financial Aid:
         *Subsidized Direct Loan           - $1,000  
       Balance due                                  $146 is owed, so there is no funding available to
                                                              purchase books

Who may I contact with questions?

If you have questions regarding ordering your books or making payment for your books, contact the eCampus customer service team by email:; or by phone: 859-209-6958.