Financial Aid Repayment Policy for Official School Withdrawals, Unofficial School Withdrawals and No-Shows
Students who receive certain federal, state, and institutional grants, scholarships, tuition waiver, or loans are subject to repaying disbursed aid upon withdrawing from the institution, failing to attend at least one class (no-show), expulsion, or who otherwise complete zero credits in any given term. Details for repayment are given below.
According to Section 484B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended in 1998, students who withdraw or are withdrawn from all classes in a term may be required to return all or a part of the Title IV aid received for that term. These policies apply only to students who completely terminate their enrollment or stop attending classes before completing more than 60 percent of the enrollment period. The policy does not apply to students who withdraw from individual courses, unless all courses are eventually dropped. However, if a student withdraws from individual courses and remains enrolled only in courses that were previously taken and passed, he/she may be considered to have fully withdrawn for Title IV aid only, under the federal rules for repeat coursework. This applies to courses that a student has passed and has then repeated at least once before. Additionally, for federal Pell Grant recipients who withdraw from even one course or do not successfully complete even one course by earning a non-passing grade, confirmation of academic attendance in individual courses must be confirmed. If academic attendance cannot be confirmed for an individual course, the federal Pell Grant will be revised to reflect the enrollment level at which the student is still enrolled or had confirmed academic attendance.
Definition of Title IV Aid
Title IV aid refers to the federal financial aid programs authorized under the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended in 1998, and includes: Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, TEACH Grant, Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Federal Work Study.
The Registrar’s Office serves as the official office of notification for withdrawal and all withdrawing students are referred to that office. The Financial Aid Department then uses the information from that office to process the Return of Title IV funds (aka R2T4) within the required deadline dates. Once the calculation is complete, the student is notified.
Last Date of Attendance
A student’s withdrawal date is used to calculate the amount of financial aid to be returned. The withdrawal date is defined as the earlier of: 1) the date the student began the withdrawal process or officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw; or 2) the student’s last date of documented attendance at an academically related activity. The institution has the option of using the latter date if the former date does not reflect the student’s actual situation.
If a student leaves without notifying the institution (unofficial withdrawal), the withdrawal date is the last date of documented attendance at an academically related activity. This date is determined by the instructor(s) of the course(s) for which the student was registered.
Key points about counting days of attendance:
- The day of withdrawal is counted as a day of attendance.
- Calendar days are used in the calculation.
- Scheduled breaks of at least five days are excluded (only applicable to fall quarter).
Return of Title IV Calculation Policy
Title IV aid is considered to be earned on a daily prorated basis through the 60 percent point of each term. All Title IV aid is considered 100 percent earned after that point.
A return of funds may be required when the aid disbursed is in excess of the aid earned during the term. The amount of Title IV aid earned is determined by multiplying the total Title IV aid (other than Federal Work Study) for which the student qualified by the percentage of time during the term that the student was enrolled. If less aid was disbursed than was earned, the student may receive a late disbursement for the difference.
The responsibility for returning unearned aid is shared between the University and the student. Any student share allocated to a grant program is reduced by 50 percent. Western will distribute the unearned aid back to the Title IV programs as specified in the Post-Withdrawal Disbursements section below. The student will be billed for the amount the student owes plus the amount the University returned to the Title IV programs.
- Did the student cease to attend a course for which she was scheduled to attend?
- At the time the student stopped attending, was she attending other courses?
- Did the student confirm attendance in a later starting course?
If the answer is "yes" to 1 and "no" to 2 and 3 the student is a withdrawal and a Return of Title IV calculation must be completed. A return calculation is not required if the student withdraws from one module, but confirms she will be attending a later module within the same program period. If the student fails to attend the later module, the withdrawal date is based on the withdrawal date from the last module the student attended.
Only Title IV aid can be considered for a post-withdrawal disbursement. Washington College Grant, College Bound Scholarship, Western Grant, Need Based Tuition Waiver and all other non-title IV aid is not subject to this process.
Any post-withdrawal disbursement must meet the current required conditions for late disbursements prior to the date the student became ineligible for a school to make a late disbursement. For example, the school must have received the student’s Student Aid Report (SAR) or Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) with an official expected family contribution (EFC). Post-withdrawal disbursements are required and are determined by following the requirements for calculating earned Title IV aid, which have no relationship to incurred educational costs. A post-withdrawal disbursement must be made within 90 days of the date that the institution determines that the student withdrew.
Written notification is sent to the student, or parent in the case of a PLUS loan, no later than 30 calendar days after the date that the school determines the student withdrew. The notice identifies the type and amount of the Title IV funds that make up the post-withdrawal disbursement and explain that the student or parent may decline all or a portion of those funds. This information must be provided to permit a student or parent to determine which funds, if any, he or she wishes to accept and/or decline.
In the notification, the school must advise the student or parent that they have 14 calendar days from the date the school sent the notification to accept a post-withdrawal disbursement. The notification must make it clear that if the student or parent does not respond to the notification within the timeframe, the school is not required to make the post-withdrawal disbursement. If a response is not received from the student or parent within the permitted timeframe or the student declines the funds, the school returns any earned funds being held to the Title IV programs.
If a student (or parent) submits a timely response accepting all or a portion of a post-withdrawal disbursement, the school must disburse the funds within 90 days of the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew.
If authorization from a student (or parent for a PLUS loan) is received after the 14 day time-frame the school must notify the student (or parent) that the post-withdrawal disbursement will not be made and why. This notification must be made in writing or electronically.
Rights and Responsibilities
Institutional Rights and Responsibilities
- Provide each student with the information in this policy.
- Apply the policy to the appropriate students and complete the Return of Title IV Funds calculation in a timely manner according to published deadlines.
- Return any Title IV funds due to the Title IV programs in a timely manner according to published deadlines.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
- Follow the policies and procedures established above.
- Return to the Title IV programs any funds that were disbursed directly to the student and which the student was determined to be ineligible for via the Return of Title IV funds calculation.
Definition of State Grants
State grants include all state grant and scholarship programs.
Western uses the student enrollment status as of the institutional “enrollment lock date”, which is the student’s final enrollment status for the term.
The enrollment lock date corresponds with the Registrar’s posted quarterly deadline, is typically the second Sunday of the quarter, and serves as the last day to add or drop a class without incurring late add/drop fees or the last date to withdraw before incurring a “W” on the official transcript.
Students who fail to attend classes, who withdraw prior to the start of the term, fail to commence attendance in all classes for which their enrollment level/award amount are based or who receive funding based on fraudulent information are required to repay 100% of the state grant and scholarship funds received. In rare instances in which it proves impossible, despite our best efforts with campus partners (professors, Office of Student Life and others), to determine whether a student unofficially withdrew vs. failed to commence attendance in all classes, the latter will apply and the student will owe a 100% refund.
Students who have received state aid (aid disbursed prior to the enrollment lock date) and who change enrollment status prior to the enrollment lock date, will have their state aid eligibility recalculated to reflect their enrollment status as of the enrollment lock date.
Students who fail to commence attendance in all classes for which their enrollment level/award amount is based must have their state aid eligibility recalculated to reflect only their enrollment level for those classes they attended.
The student who decreases enrollment status prior to the lock date will owe a repayment of the overpayment amount. However, students who increase enrollment status throughout the term are entitled to additional funds for enrollment status increases.
If the student enrolls as of the first day of the term and meets enrollment requirements for state grant funds but completely withdraws before the enrollment lock date, the student will be given the option of keeping disbursed funds and being held to SAP (satisfactory academic progress) policy requirements for the term or returning the funds and not being held to SAP for the term.
Students who make enrollment status adjustments (up or down) after disbursement and after the enrollment lock date will not be subject to return of funds but will be held to completion of SAP requirements. Enrollment status increases must include WCG (Washington College Grant) awards based on that enrollment and may not exceed need. WCG may not exceed the cost of the student’s tuition and fees.
If a student’s enrollment is adjusted during the tuition refund period and tuition is reduced, and the student failed to commence attendance in all classes for which their disbursement was made, the grant shall be reduced to not exceed the cost of tuition and fees. The Washington Student Achievement Council has defined award amounts based on actual tuition and estimated fees using a 15-credit tuition and fee amount, with adjustments only required for less than full time enrollment, as a result of need limitations, or quarters of eligibility restrictions.
- In support of Western students, Western Washington University returns required state grant repayments to the Washington Student Achievement Council using institutional funds and seeks reimbursement from the students instead of referring student repayments to the Achievement Council for collection.
See Withdrawing from WWU for additional information.