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Withdrawals and Their Affect on Your Financial Aid - Return to Title IV Funds (R2T4)

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How Withdrawals Affect Financial Aid

Federal (Title IV) financial aid funds are awarded under the assumption that a student will remain in classroom attendance for the entire period (semester) for which the funds were awarded.

When a student withdraws from all courses, regardless of the reason, they may no longer be eligible for the full amount of federal financial aid funds originally awarded.  The return of funds to the federal government is based on the premise that a student earns financial aid in proportion to the length of time during which the student remains enrolled.  A pro-rated schedule determines the amount of federal student aid funds a student will have earned at the time of full withdrawal.   For example, a student who withdraws in the second week of the semester has earned less of their financial aid than a student who withdraws in the fifth week.  Once the 60% point in the semester is reached, a student is considered to have earned all of the financial aid originally awarded and will not be required to return any funds.

For financial aid purposes, the last date of attendance is one of the following: the date the formal withdrawal process begins, the date the student otherwise gives official notice of intent to withdraw (i.e., letter, phone call, e-mail, in-person), the mid-point of the term, or the last documented date of attendance in an academically-related activity (i.e., documented attendance in a class or lab or submission of an assignment in a video course)

Federal regulations require a recalculation of financial aid eligibility if a student:

  • Completely withdraws from all classes; or
  • Stops attending before the semester’s end;

Virginia Union University students who receive federal financial aid and who do not remain in attendance through the end of the semester could be responsible for repaying a portion of the financial aid originally received.

Students who do not begin attendance in classes are not eligible for federal financial.

NOTE:  Virginia Union University’s institutional tuition refund policy is separate from federal regulations to return unearned aid.  Receiving a tuition/fee refund from the university will have no impact on the amount the student must repay to the federal aid programs.

How Earned Financial Aid is Calculated

Financial aid recipients “earn” the aid they originally received by remaining in classes.  The amount of federal financial aid earned is based on a pro-rated system.  Students who withdraw or do not complete all classes in which they were enrolled may be required to return some of the aid originally awarded.

The university is required to determine the percentage of TIV aid “earned” by the student and return the “unearned” portion to the appropriate federal aid programs.  The university is required to perform this calculation within 45 days of the date the school determines that a student has completely withdrawn.  The school must return the funds within 45 days of the calculation.  The R2T4 calculation is completed by the Office of Financial Aid.

The following explains the formula used to determine the percentage of unearned aid to be returned to the federal government:

  • The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester.
  • The percent unearned is equal to 100 percent less the percent earned.
  • Breaks of 5 days or longer are not included in the count of total days in the payment period.
  • Institutional scholarship funds are not subject to the R2T4 policy. 

When a Student Fails to Begin Attendance

If financial aid is processed for a student who never begins attendance in any class for which the student is registered in a term, all aid will be canceled.

The Registrar provides attendance certification reports after the census date of the payment semester.  This report lists the students and the classes in which they never attended.  Financial aid originally awarded is canceled for students who failed to begin attendance in all classes in which they were originally enrolled and is adjusted for those who fail to begin attendance in a portion of the classes in which they were originally enrolled.

When a Student Fails All Classes

If a financial aid recipient who has not officially withdrawn fails to receive a passing grade in at least one class during the term, the Financial Aid Office will determine whether the student actually established eligibility for the aid originally awarded.   Instructors will be contacted and asked to provide information on the student’s attendance.  If the student did not begin attendance, or stopped attending during the payment period, the financial aid originally awarded will be canceled or adjusted.

How a Withdrawal Affects Future Financial Aid Eligibility

Refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy to determine how a withdrawal impacts future financial aid eligibility.