One component of FSA eligibility is based upon the duration of a student’s schedule enrollment each semester. Title IV funds are packaged for a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which they have been deemed eligible for financial aid.
When a student who has actually received Title IV funds or has met the conditions that entitled the student to a late disbursement, is considered withdrawn from a semester, the university is required by law to perform a Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation to determine the percentage and amount of aid that the student earned. Federal law requires schools to calculate how much federal financial aid a student has earned if that student:
- Completely withdraws, or
- Stops attending before completing the semester, or
- Does not complete all modules for which the student has registered at the time they begin attending
Students who elect to withdraw (disenroll) from the university during a semester must do so by dropping or withdrawing from all of their courses in the semester and then completing the Disenrollment Request Form or otherwise contact the Registrar’s Office.
A student is considered an official withdrawal if they have:
- Dropped and/or withdrawn from all courses and either does not plan to continue in the current semester or no longer has the opportunity to add registrations
- Dropped and/or withdrawn from all active courses, student selected confirmation to continue but did not continue and was identified at the mid-point in the semester
- Been Dismissed/Expelled during an active semester
- Voluntarily Disenrolled during an active semester by submitting a Disenrollment Request Form to the Registrar’s Office
If a student who began attendance, and has not officially withdrawn, fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course offered over the entire semester, the university must assume for Title IV purposes that the student has withdrawn. The student may then be subject to an R2T4 calculation, unless the school can document that the student completed the period.
- The university differentiates between an earned F and an unearned F grade based on the fulfillment of course requirements — an earned F grade is not considered a withdrawal.
- Students determined to be an unofficial withdrawal are no longer considered enrolled for the semester and are therefore subject to R2T4 rules.
Students are required to log into all courses and complete an academic activity, during Week One. Specifically, students must submit a minimum 250 word introductory forum post for each course. Students who do not complete this activity during the first week of class will be administratively dropped for “non-attendance” from any courses in which this assignment has not been completed.
If a student is administratively dropped for non-attendance prior to the census date, the student is not eligible for Title IV program funds, and all Title IV funds will be returned.
Modules are courses that do not span the entire payment period (semester); an example of a module is an 8-week class within a 16-week semester. A student in a module-based program would be considered withdrawn if the student:
- Does not complete all the days they were scheduled to attend within a semester or module for which their aid was intended for
- Intends to return for another module in the same semester but does not return
Students may provide written confirmation at the time of withdrawal that he or she will attend a module that begins later in the same semester. A student is not considered to have withdrawn if the university obtains a written confirmation to continue on the withdrawal form at the time of the withdrawal. Future registrations are not considered a confirmation to continue.
Students who do not confirm future enrollment, but return to a module within the same semester, will be treated as if they are not withdrawn. The Return of Title IV Funds calculation will be reversed.
R2T4 calculations are completed within 30 days of the Date of Determination (DOD). Students receive electronic notifications of the R2T4 calculation and results. The following R2T4 procedures are followed:
- The amount of aid earned is based on a determination of the withdrawal date, which may be:
- For unofficial withdrawals, either the midpoint of the semester or the last documented date of attendance at an academically related activity, whichever is later.
- For official withdrawals, either the last course drop/withdrawal date or date of disenrollment as provided to the Registrar.
- The institution will determine the last date that the student participated in an academically- related activity such as participating in a discussion group, taking a quiz or exam, turning in homework, etc.
- Simply logging into a course without active participation does not constitute an academically- related activity.
- Up through the 60% point in each payment period (semester), a pro rata schedule is used to determine how much Federal Student Aid (FSA) program funds the student has earned at the time the student is considered withdrawn.
- After the 60% point in the payment period, a student has earned 100% of the FSA program funds.
- The percentage of the payment period completed is determined by the total number of calendar days in the payment period for which the assistance is packaged divided into the number of calendar days completed in that period as of the day the student withdrew.
- Scheduled breaks of at least five consecutive days are excluded from the total number of calendar days in a payment period (denominator) and the number of calendar days completed in that period (numerator).
If a student earned more aid than was disbursed, they may be due, and offered, a post-withdrawal disbursement. Pell Post-withdrawal disbursements are processed no later than 45 days after the DOD. Loan post-withdrawal disbursements can be paid up to 180 days.
Students are provided a PWD form and provided a “response due date” to accept of 14 days within the date of notification. If a response is received by the due date, post- withdrawal disbursements are initiated and monitored through posting on the student’s ledger. If the student has an FSA credit balance once all funding has processed, the credit balance is processed according to the student’s credit balance selection.
Title IV (Federal Student Aid) funds credited to outstanding loan balances for the payment period for which a return of funds is required must be returned in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Direct Stafford loans (other than PLUS loans)
- Subsidized Direct Stafford loans
- Graduate PLUS loans
- Federal Direct PLUS loans (dependent students)
If funds remain after repaying all loan amounts, those remaining funds must be credited in the following order:
- Federal Pell Grants for the payment period for which a return of funds is required
- Academic Competitiveness Grant & National SMART Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for which a return of funds is required
- Other assistance under this Title for which a return of funds is required
The university is required to return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination that a student is withdrawn. Students who have FSA funds returned and owe money to the institution are notified by e-mail and a ‘Balance Due Hold’ is placed on the account.
For students who require an R2T4 calculation, documentation is compiled and maintained as part of the student record and financial aid file.