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A refund returns funds to the parent for a payment that they have made previously. The most common reason for a refund would be in instances of students leaving your program who have prepaid or paid a deposit, or if a parent over-pays by a meaningful amount. In most cases of an overpayment, the additional funds will be reflected as a credit, or positive balance, on the student's account and will be deducted from future charges, so a refund is not always necessary. 

Please Note: Issuing a refund takes 5-7 business days to fully process and post to the parent’s account. The timing largely depends on the banking institutions the funds are flowing in and out of. 

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When to Issue a Refund

Brightwheel’s billing platform has a great credit feature that helps empower administrators to adjust charges. Oftentimes, simply issuing a credit that will reduce the balance owed by a parent for current or future charges should be enough to resolve an issue. 

A credit is an extra or over-payment made on a student’s account and results in a  positive balance that sits on a student’s billing account. The credit can be used to pay upcoming charges or be refunded back to the parent. A credit is NOT the same as a refund. 

That said, there are cases where a refund of funds might be required, such as a meaningful overpayment, or if the student will no longer be in attendance to incur new charges. In the end, deciding whether a refund should be issued is a decision best made between your program and the parent(s) involved. 

It’s important to note that you can only issue a refund for payments that have cleared. Pending payment cannot be stopped or refunded. Once cleared, funds can be refunded back to the payment method used for the original payment. For example, if a parent pays you via check and you will be required to refund that payment offline via check or cash. Refunds cannot be processed on a different card or bank account.  

Issuing a Refund

Refunds can only be issued when a student has a credit on their account. A credit could be the result of a parent over paying or if an administrator adjusts a charge that was already paid.  A credit is NOT the same as a refund. 

There are no additional processing fees associated with a refund. Any processing fees that where charged at the time of payment will NOT be refunded to the party that paid the processing fee (parent or school).

Once you have decided that a refund is warranted, you are able to issue a refund directly from the student’s billing account page. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the student’s Billing Account page
  2. Click on the ? in the upper right-hand corner of the green This Account has a credit of panel
  3. Click Issue a refund 
  4. Enter the amount that needs to be refunded up to the total amount of the account credit and provide a reason and complete the remaining fields
  5. Click Issue refund

Refunds will display in the Activity since last statement section of the student's billing account page and will be included in the next statement sent to parents. 

Please Note: In rare instances, a refund may fail which will delay the refunding process. We recommend that you double-check to ensure you are returning it to the correct payment method and selecting an appropriate refundable amount. If you’re still unsure of why a refund failed you can reach out to our support team at

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