I was told on Monday that the money was released and send Direct deposit into the account I set it up for. Today is Thursday and the money is still not showing up in my account. How long should I wait before I get worried?
That depends on how you set up the account, if you did everything right, and how quick your school is to process transfers.
1.) Although it is too late to make sure that your money is direct deposited into your account this semester, check all of the information you provided to initiate the deposit. Make sure the bank account and routing numbers are correct, and make sure that the name and address your school has on file are the same as the name and address your bank has on file.
2.) When the school notified you that your funds were on the way, it is possible that they simply generated a mass e-mail to notify everyone who is entitled to a refund. That does not mean that their cashiers department has actually processed the transfer. Expect the school to take up to 2-5 business days just to process the transfer from the time you received your notice.
3.) Once the bank receives your transfer, the bank will have to check to make sure that the money is deposited into the correct account. This is why it is so important that the school have the current name and address to match the information your bank has on file. It will make the authentication process much more efficient. The bank will take as much as 72 hours to process this (weekends and holidays not included).
To allay your worries, contact your financial aid or cashiers department, and ask for verification that the funds have indeed been transferred, and also ask for verification to find out where they were sent. Your school should be able to give you a wire number, or transaction number, and the school’s routing number.
With this wire/transaction number, go to your bank, and tell them that you are missing funds that were wired to you on X date. Ask them to research the funds. It may take your bank a bit of time to research this, I expect four to six hours if the bank branch is busy, but it is better if you go in person, and then call for updates, because you will be more likely to get to the correct person the first time, instead of spending time playing phone tag with the responsible party.
If your bank cannot find the wire, the school sent the funds to the wrong account number, or other difficulties arise, and you do not have your funds within 7 to 10 business days, Ask the school to recall the wire and give you a check instead. The school will have to cancel the transaction, and process a check which then has to be mailed to you. This will take another 7 to 10 business days, but it may be the only way for you to get your funds if something went wrong.