Withdrawing and Returning of Federal Aid

Click here to return to 

We all change our minds sometimes. If you come to UWest and then are called to a different path we wish you all good fortune. But… you may have to return some money.

Please see below for details.


Withdrawal & Leave Of Absence (LOA)

After financial aid has been disbursed, a student who withdraws or ceases attendance from UWest during a semester may be required to return all or part of the funds received, including funds credited to pay tuition and fees.

Since financial aid must be used solely for educationally related expenses during periods of enrollment, federal regulations require the university to calculate the amount of aid a student “earned” for the number of days the student attended. “Unearned” aid, i.e. aid covering periods of the term when the student did not attend classes or was not enrolled, must be repaid. This calculation is referred to as Return of Title IV Funds which will be performed by the Financial Aid Office.

If repayment is owed, the student will be billed by the Bursar’s Office and will have 45 days to arrange satisfactory repayment. The student is not eligible for further aid until repayment is made in full. A student who fails to make repayment on schedule may also be reported to the US Department of Education or to a collection agency representing UWest.

Students who find it necessary to withdraw from all classes and leave UWest for any reason should complete an official LOA/Withdrawal form. This official LOA/Withdrawal must be signed, approved and submitted to the Registrar’s Office. The official date of leave or withdrawal is the date the form is received by the Registrar’s Office.

If a student who began attendance and did not officially withdraw receives all non-passing grades for a semester, the university must determine whether they attended class and earned the grades or whether they ceased attending at some point without officially withdrawing. This determination occurs via a requested documented last day of attendance or participation from the student’s instructors.

If a student received all non-passing grades because they stopped attending class, they are considered to have unofficially withdrawn from the university. The student’s financial aid will be revised based on the documented last date of attendance at an academically related activity, and they may have to repay a portion of the federal aid they received during the semester.

If the university is unable to document the last date of attendance at an academically related activity, the student’s financial aid will be revised based on the mid-point of the term, and they will have to repay one-half of the federal aid they received during the semester.

Non-passing grades for financial aid purposes include Failing grade “F”, Withdrawn grades “W” and “FW”, Not Pass grade “NP”, and Incomplete grades “I” or “IC”.

LOA is granted to students in good standing with an intention to return to UWest less than one year, whereas withdrawal is applicable to students who do not plan to return to UWest as well as those who plan on taking one year or more off from their studies.

UWest’s approved LOA does not meet the definition of Return of Title IV Funds Approved LOA and therefore, will be considered as withdrawal for Return of Title IV Funds purposes.


Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4)

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal regulations to recalculate Title IV eligibility for students who withdraw, are dismissed, take a leave of absence, or stop attending before completing the semester. This policy applies to all students receiving federal grant and/or loan aid. Students who only receive Federal Work-Study funds are not subject to this policy.

Federal Title IV regulations require students who withdraw from all of their classes prior to the 60 percent point of the payment period (defined as fall or spring semester or summer term) to return the unearned portion of their Title IV financial aid to the Department of Education. Additionally, institutions may be required to return a portion of unearned funds to the Department of Education, and some students may be entitled to a post-withdrawal disbursement.

The university must return the amount of unearned Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of determination that the student withdrew. If the student earned more aid than was disbursed, the university would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be credited to the student’s account within 180 days of the date of withdrawal determination.


Funds to include in a Return to Title IV calculation

Title IV funds which must be included in the calculation are listed in the priority order of their return as follows:

    • Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans;
    • Direct Subsidized Stafford loans;
    • Direct PLUS loans;
    • Pell Grants;
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
    • Other Title IV Assistance

UWest does not participate in the Perkins loans programs.


Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws

When a student withdraws during the payment period or period of enrollment, the amount of Title IV program assistance earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula.

    • If the amount disbursed to the student is/was greater than the amount earned, the unearned funds must be returned to the Department of Education.
    • If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount earned, the student is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid that was not received.
    • Refund calculations are not applied to students who withdraw from classes prior to the first day of attendance.
    • Students who receive aid prior to the first day of attendance and who withdraw from all classes prior to the first day of attendance will be required to repay all of the Title IV Funds disbursed.
Determining Earned Aid

The amount of assistance earned is determined on a prorated basis. For example, if a student completed 30 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment, the student earns 30 percent of the assistance he or she was originally scheduled to receive. Once the student has completed more than 60 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment, he or she earns all the assistance scheduled for that period.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement

A student who did not receive all of the funds earned before withdrawing may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. Students will be notified of post-withdrawal disbursement eligibility within 30 days of the date of withdrawal determination. All post-withdrawal disbursements will be credited to student account first. If the return calculation results in a credit balance on the student’s account, the credit balance will be disbursed as soon as possible and no later than 14 days after the return calculation.

The university will disburse any post-withdrawal grant funds within 45 days of the date the university determines the student withdrew. No confirmation from the student is required.   If a post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, the university must receive the student’s permission before it can disburse them.  The university will notify the student of their post-withdrawal loan disbursement and allow them 14 days to respond to the loan offer.   A student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that he or she does not incur additional debt. The university may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds to pay for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the university). The university needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. A student who chooses not to grant permission will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the university to keep the funds to reduce debt.

When processing a post-withdrawal disbursement, the student must have met all of the conditions for a late disbursement prior to the date the student became ineligible (date of withdrawal).   Some Title IV funds that the student was scheduled to receive may not be disbursed because of other eligibility requirements. For example, a first-time, first-year undergraduate who does not complete the first 30 days of a program before withdrawal will not receive any Direct Loan funds that would have been received if the student had remained enrolled past the 30th day.

Returning Unearned Aid

If the student receives (or the university or parent receives on the student’s behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, the university must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of

    • the student’s institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of his or her funds, or
    • the entire amount of excess funds.

The university must return this amount even if it did not keep this amount of the student’s Title IV program funds. If the university is not required to return all of the excess funds, the student must return the remaining amount. For any loan funds that must be returned, the student (or the student’s parent for a PLUS Loan) must repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, the student must make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.

Any amount of unearned grant funds the student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that must be repaid is half of the grant funds received or scheduled to be received. The student must make arrangements with the university or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.

The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from any refund policy that the university may have. UWest’s refund policy may be found in the catalog under Tuition and Fees. A student may still owe funds to the university to cover unpaid institutional charges. The university may also charge a student for any Title IV program funds that the school is required to return.

Withdrawal Date

The Registrar’s Office is the designated office of record where students provide notification of withdrawal. The withdrawal date is determined by the Registrar’s Office and will be used as the withdrawal date in the calculation. The amount that could have been disbursed will be determined by the enrollment status as of the date the student completely withdraws.

Return of Title IV Funds for Students Who Withdraw Due to Military Deployment

Student must submit a copy of the military deployment to the Registrar’s Office and the Financial Aid Office. If a Title IV eligible student withdraws because of being called to active duty, or has been otherwise impacted by the military mobilization, the school must perform Return of Title IV calculations that are required by statute and regulations. If those calculations result in the school being required to return funds to one or more of the Title IV programs, it must do so. The student will be responsible for any amount returned on their behalf.