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MyFSApay Payment Vehicle Account Program

This pilot program is limited to five schools — but is designed to help manage financial aid.

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The myFSApay Payment Vehicle Account, offered by the Department of Education, is a new addition to the tools you can use to manage your loans and scholarships. But with the deadline quickly approaching — and only a few schools able to participate — you may want to opt for a regular checking account instead.

Limited to five schools

The myFSApay pilot program is very limited. Only students who receive federal financial aid and are enrolled in these five schools are eligible to participate:

  • Jackson State University
  • Purdue University
  • University of California Riverside
  • University of Georgia
  • National University

What is the myFSApay Payment Vehicle Account program?

The myFSApay program is a way for students to receive refunds on their financial aid once they meet the costs of tuition, fees and other institutional fees. It's meant to serve as an alternative to the usual refund methods of direct deposit, prepaid debit card and paper check. 

It acts like a prepaid debit card. For students who don't have a bank account, it makes it possible to manage financial aid — and add more funds from employment — during the school year.

When will the pilot program end?

The myFSApay pilot program ends in December 2020 — although it may be extended another year to further gauge how schools and students utilize it. When it ends, you'll be able to withdraw your funds and close out your account.

Who is eligible for a myFSApay account?

If you receive federal financial aid, such as a Direct Loan or the Pell Grant, you qualify for myFSApay. Just keep in mind that the program is limited to the five participating schools listed above. 

Students who receive state financial aid, private scholarships or private loans currently don't qualify on their own. However, you can use your myFSApay account to manage these funds alongside your federal financial aid.

How does a myFSApay account work?

Provided you're currently enrolled in a participating school, you can sign up and deposit funds into your account as needed. And while your card is linked to a bank account, it isn't technically a bank account. Instead, it's a prepaid debit card that can be reloaded with multiple types of student aid, including scholarships, grants, loans and income from employment. 

The current max amount you can have at any one time is set at $8,000. This may be limiting for some students who live off campus or receive a large refund from their schools. 

And while the $2,500 daily spending limit is higher than some checking accounts, you're only able to withdraw $500 daily from an ATM. But paper checks aren't limited — you can write one for up to the full balance of your account.

If you graduate, transfer to a different university or leave school, you're able to transfer your funds by check or direct deposit to another financial institution.

How can I withdraw funds?

You can withdraw your funds in one of three ways: 

  • At an ATM
  • By check
  • Through electronic transfer

What fees does a myFSApay account charge?

Your myFSApay account won't charge many fees. And even if you're charged a fee, it will be reimbursed — either automatically or at your request.

Automatically reimbursed:

  • Out-of-network ATM withdrawals and balance inquiries
  • Card declines
  • Cash deposits

Reimbursed upon request: 

  • Cashing a check using an out-of-network service
  • Out-of-network bank branch withdrawals
  • International electronic withdrawals

Does a myFSApay account allow overdrafts?

No, you won't be able to overdraft your account. Because the myFSApay program is meant for managing financial aid, you can only use as much as you have. 

If a transaction would overdraw your account, the purchase will be declined. If you make a purchase by check, you will need to use an authorization code to prevent an overdraft.

Pros and cons of the myFSApay Payment Vehicle Account Program

The myFSApay program provides a convenient way for students to manage their financial aid — but the pilot is set to end soon.

Pros

  • Manage up to $8,000 of financial aid
  • No, overdraft, direct deposit or cash withdrawal fees
  • High spend limit of $2,500 per day

Cons

  • Pilot program has extremely limited scope
  • Scheduled to end in December 2020 — but may be extended
  • Must be currently enrolled in a participating school

How do I sign up for a myFSApay account?

Follow these five steps to get started:

  1. Confirm you’re eligible for the pilot program.
  2. Download the myStudentAid mobile app.
  3. Select myMoney, then myFSApay.
  4. Select your school and visit Money Network's website to enroll.
  5. Follow the instructions to finalize your enrollment.

To complete account setup, you'll need to submit some basic information about yourself, including your name, Social Security number and contact information. Once you finish registration, you will have immediate access to your account.

Bottom line

The myFSApay pilot program is meant to serve as an alternative to banks to manage your financial aid. While you'll need to have federal financial aid to qualify, you can also manage private student loans with your account. 

But it isn't the most comprehensive option out there — so if you don't qualify, consider these top student checking accounts instead.

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