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Return of Federal Financial Aid upon Withdrawal
Federal student aid is awarded with the expectation that you will remain enrolled for the entire semester for which you receive aid. The federal government requires that you “earn” your financial aid awards in proportion to the number of days you remain enrolled. If you do not remain enrolled, the school must determine the portion of your federal aid you may keep. Withdrawing from classes will also impact your progression towards degree completion. It is strongly recommended that you consult with the Financial Aid Office before you withdraw from classes.
To establish eligibility for federal financial aid payments, you must begin attending your classes. If you withdraw from all classes before finishing the term, the school must determine the portion of your federal aid you earned and can therefore receive. The portion of your federal aid you may receive is determined by comparing the total number of calendar days in the semester to the actual number of days you were enrolled before you withdrew. For example, if you only attend 23 days of a 115 day semester, you earn 20% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive and 80% must be returned to the federal government.
If you receive (or the school receives on your behalf) more aid than you earn, the unearned funds must be returned to the Department of Education. If, on the other hand, you receive (or the college receives on your behalf) less aid than the amount you have earned, you may be able to receive these additional funds. Once you have completed more than 60% of the semester, you have "earned" and are entitled to receive 100% (all) of your assistance.
The date marking the point at which you have earned 100% of your assistance in each semester is below:
- Fall 2019: November 14, 2019
- Spring 2020: March 31, 2020
Your withdrawal date is determined by the school as either (1) the date you began the school’s official withdrawal process; (2) the midpoint of the semester (if you unofficially withdraw without notifying the school); or (3) your last date of attendance at an academically-related activity as documented by the school.
If you receive excess funds that must be returned to the government, the school shares with you the responsibility of returning those excess funds. The school’s portion of the funds to be returned equals the lesser of (a) the entire amount of the excess funds, or (b) your total tuition and fee charges multiplied by the percentage of unearned funds.
You will be required to repay to the school any funds the college had to return to the Department of Education on your behalf. In such cases, you will be billed by the college and have to make payment arrangements with the Bursar’s Office. In addition, you may also have to repay some of the excess funds you received directly to the Department of Education.
Since any Direct Loan funds you received must be repaid according to the terms of the promissory note, you would not be required to return the excess loan funds you received until your loans go into repayment.
Any award money you are required to return to the federal government is considered a federal grant overpayment. You must either repay that amount in full or make satisfactory arrangements with either the school or the Department of Education to repay the amount. You must complete these arrangements within 45 days of the date of the college’s notifying you of your overpayment status or you risk losing your eligibility for further federal financial assistance.
After you have withdrawn, either officially or unofficially, the college will perform the necessary calculations and notify you if you must return any of the aid you already received.