Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws or ceases to attend, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive.
The Return to Title IV Funds Policy applies to recipients of Title IV financial aid who withdraw or cease attending all classes for the payment period or term after aid has been disbursed. Repayment of aid is determined according to this policy. Financial aid recipients considering withdrawing from all coursework are advised to contact the Office of Financial Aid prior to withdrawal.
When a student is considered to have totally withdrawn during a payment period or term in which he/she has begun attendance and received federal Title IV financial aid, the University is required to determine the amount of earned and unearned Title IV aid. A student is only eligible to retain the percentage of Title IV aid disbursed that is equal to the percentage of the payment period or term that was completed by the student. The unearned Title IV aid must then be returned to the appropriate federal aid program(s). If more than 60 percent of the payment period or term has been completed by the student, no Title IV aid needs to be returned.
In accordance with federal regulations, unearned Title IV aid shall be returned to these programs in the following order:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Direct Parent or Graduate PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity
- Other Title IV Programs
The unearned portion of the aid will be charged back to the student’s billing account and must be repaid by the student. A hold will placed on the student’s account by the Office of Student Accounts, if the outstanding balance is not repaid. The Office of Financial Aid will send notification to the student’s University email account notifying the student of the withdrawal date, the percent of the payment period or term completed, the amount of aid returned to the federal program(s), and the balance the student currently owes.
There are three types of withdrawals that fall under the Return to Title IV Funds federal calculation regulations:
- Official Withdrawals — Student has completed the formal withdrawal process via the Withdrawal Authorization Form at the Registrar’s Office in person, mail, fax, email, or has dropped all courses through their Webster account. The withdrawal date is the date the student notifies the school of intent to withdraw (Withdrawal Authorization Form received by school) or the date the student resigns from all courses online.
- Unofficial Withdrawals — If a student begins to attend class, receives federal Title IV aid, but then ceases to attend class without providing official notification to the University, the federal government considers this to be an "unofficial withdrawal." This includes students who earn failing grades in all classes, if it is determined the student ceased attending classes prior to the end of the payment period or term. The withdrawal date for students who unofficially withdraw is the last date of attendance reported by the student’s instructor(s). The refund rules for Title IV aid recipients who withdraw are then followed to determine the unearned portion of Title IV aid that must be returned to the appropriate aid program(s).
- Module Withdrawals — A module withdrawal refers to a course or courses in a program that do not span the entire length of the payment period or term. If a student withdraws from an individual module and does not complete all of the days he/she was initially scheduled to prior to ceasing attendance, a return of Title IV funds calculation must be performed to determine the percentage of financial aid earned and unearned.
If a student provides written confirmation of his/her intent to attend a future module within the semester, it is not necessary to perform the recalculation, however, the student’s future attendance within the semester must be tracked. If it is determined that the student failed to attend a future module, a recalculation must be performed.