Withdrawal and Its Effect on Financial Aid

Federal regulations govern the return of Title IV (federal) financial aid funds that have been disbursed for a student who completely withdraws from college during a term, payment period, or period of enrollment. The Title IV programs included under these regulations are: Federal Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, National SMART Grants, TEACH Grants, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and Federal Perkins Loans. The regulations operate under the principle that a student “earns” his/her financial aid based on the period of time he/she remained enrolled.

During the first 60% of the enrollment period, a student “earns” Title IV federal financial aid funds in direct proportion to the length of time he/she remains enrolled (that is, the percentage of time during the enrollment period that the student remained enrolled is the percentage of disbursable aid for that period that the student earned). A student who withdraws from college beyond the 60% point has “earned” all Title IV federal financial aid for the period.

Unearned Title IV funds, other than Federal Work-Study earnings, must be returned to the federal financial aid programs. Unearned aid is the amount of disbursed Title IV aid that exceeds the amount of Title IV aid earned under the formula.

The responsibility to repay unearned Title IV aid is shared by the institution and the student in proportion to the aid each is assumed to possess.

The institution’s share is the lesser of:

The student’s share is the difference between the total unearned amount and the institution’s share.

When withdrawing, a student should keep in mind that the requirements for Title IV program funds are separate from the college policy on institutional funds. A student withdrawing from the college during a term in which he or she is receiving a college-funded scholarship or grant will forfeit the scholarship or grant. Students withdrawing after the end of the college’s refund period are liable for all of their college charges even when their financial aid is decreased.

Students considering withdrawal should call or visit the Financial Aid Office to determine the specific implications. Official withdrawal notification should be provided to the Registrar’s Office.

In addition, students who do not successfully complete any coursework during a semester will be reviewed to determine whether or not they may have unofficially withdrawn during the course of the semester. If the Financial Aid Office cannot document a student’s attendance through 60% or more of the semester, a student is considered to have unofficially withdrawn and the student’s federal financial aid will be subject to the Return of Title IV Aid calculation described above. A student found to have unofficially withdrawn will have the calculation performed using the 50% point in the semester unless a last date of attendance can be documented.

Additional information, worksheets, and examples of return-of-federal-funds calculations can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office.