Dropping Classes and Withdrawing - How It Might Affect A Student’s Federal Title IV Aid
Federal 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, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive. Title IV funds at Fort Lewis College include:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG),
- Federal Perkins Loan,
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loan,
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Parent (PLUS) Loan
If the institution is made aware that the student began attendance in at least one course, but not in all the courses he or she was scheduled to attend, regardless of whether the student is a withdrawal, the school must check to see if it is necessary to recalculate the student’s eligibility for Pell Grant and Campus-Based funds based on a revised enrollment status and cost of education.
Students who do not begin classes are ineligible for financial aid. Any financial aid they received will be returned to the applicable federal program on behalf of the student. The student will be responsible for repaying the college. Students who do not attend, and fail to officially withdraw from classes will be held responsible for tuition, fees, book charges, and/or room/board (if living on campus) charges, according to the college refund policy.
How do I remain eligible for all of the federal student aid I received during the semester?
To avoid being subject to repaying any of your federal student aid during the semester, the student must be attending classes, taking exams, and completing required course work.
If a student drops a course or courses prior to census (during the Fall or Spring term), it may affect the student’s financial aid. Students should consult their financial aid counselor prior to dropping one or more classes. If a student drops a course or courses after census, it will not affect their financial aid. For example, when a student reduces his or her course load from 12 credits to 9 credits, the reduction represents a change in enrollment status, not a withdrawal. Therefore, no return calculation is required. Dropping classes (Modules) in the summer term has different rules. See below.
If a recipient of Title IV funds withdraws from school after beginning attendance, the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance earned by the student must be determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, the unearned funds must be returned. If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and for which the student is otherwise eligible, he or she is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid that was not received. Instructions on how a student officially withdraws is found on the Registrar’s website.
What happens if a student officially withdraws from their courses?
- The institution is required to calculate a Return of Federal Student Aid Funds, using the Federal Return of Title IV Funds calculation, for students who received federal aid, but officially withdrew from all classes on or before the 60 percent attendance point in the semester.
- The calculation determines a student’s earned and unearned Title IV aid based on the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the student. The percentage of the period that the student remained enrolled is derived by dividing the number of days the student attended by the number of days in the period. Calendar days (including weekends) are used, but breaks of at least 5 days are excluded.
- The last date of attendance used is the date the student completes the withdrawal process in their WebOPUS account, unless the Office of Financial Aid is made aware that the student’s last date of attendance was earlier.
- Until the student has attended past the 60% point of an enrollment period, only a portion of the student’s aid has been earned.
- A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point is considered to have earned all awarded aid for the enrollment period, unless the student does not receive at least one passing grade. In this case, it would be up to the student to prove that they earned their failing grades by showing that they continued to go to class, and/or took final exams to avoid being subject to the Return of Title IV Funds.
- Unearned federal student aid funds will be returned to the appropriate aid program(s). The funds are returned in the following order:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
- Federal Direct PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG Grant
- If, due to the withdrawal calculation, the student owes the federal government a portion of the loans or grants received at the beginning of the semester, the college will automatically pay this to the government on the student’s behalf. If it results in an account balance, these charges will then appear on the bill the student will receive from the Accounting Office.
What happens if a student unoffically withdrawals, is dismissed, or does not receive at least one passing grade in at least one course?
- Students who stop attending all classes without officially withdrawing will be processed as an unofficial withdrawal from the college for that semester. The return of federal student aid calculation will be performed based on the withdrawal date/last date of attendance as determined by the college. If a date cannot be determined the calculation will be based on 50% attendance.
- Students who receive all "F" grades, who do not prove that they earned their failing grades, are considered unofficial withdrawals. The return of federal student aid will be based on 50%, unless the Office of Financial aid is made aware of an official last date of attendance.
- The Office of Financial Aid will notify students on how much aid and what type of aid has been returned.
How is a student’s tuition and fees assessed if they officially withdraw?
The tuition and fees refund policy set by Fort Lewis College is separate from the federal regulation to repay unearned aid. Whether or not you received a tuition/fee refund has no bearing on the amount you must repay to the federal aid programs. The institution's refund policy calculates the student’s tuition and fees based on the date the student withdrawals from school.
Additional summer term information
Dropping Classes (Modules) in Summer Term
During the summer term, Fort Lewis College has several parts of term, or different start and end dates for courses. These parts of term are known as “modules”. A student’s aid for summer is calculated from their summer aid request form, which outlines the credits in each module(s) they are enrolled in.
If a student is going to drop a module, they must drop that module while they are currently enrolled in a module. A student who drops future modules between modules that he or she was scheduled to attend is considered to have withdrawn because: (1) the student has not completed all the days in the payment period that he or she was scheduled to complete; and (2) his or her Title IV aid was based on attendance in all the modules he or she was originally scheduled to attend, UNLESS the student is also enrolled in a course(s) that spans the entire summer term they are completing.
Unless a student provides written confirmation of future attendance in a module(s) within the summer term, a student who drops all the future modules during the time he or she is between modules that he or she was scheduled to attend is considered to have withdrawn, and a Return of Title IV Funds calculation is required. If the student provides written confirmation for future attendance within the summer term, and does not return, they will be subject to the Return of Title IV Funds calculation.
How to determine whether a student in a program offered in modules has withdrawn
The Office of Financial Aid can determine whether a student enrolled in a series of modules is a withdrawal by asking the following questions.
1) After beginning attendance in the payment period or period of enrollment, did the student cease to attend or fail to begin attendance in a course he or she was scheduled to attend? If the answer is no, this is not a withdrawal. If the answer is yes, go to question 2.
2) When the student ceased to attend or failed to begin attendance in a course he or she was scheduled to attend, was the student still attending any other courses? If the answer is yes, this is not a withdrawal; however, other regulatory provisions concerning recalculation may apply. If the answer is no, go to question 3.
3) Did the student confirm attendance in a course in a module beginning later in the period? If the answer is yes, this is not a withdrawal, unless the student does not return. If the answer is no, this is a withdrawal and the Return of Title IV Funds requirements apply.
Students enrolled in a summer course that spans the entire term, in addition to being enrolled in modules, who do not receive a passing grade in any course, will have to prove that they earned their failing grades by showing that they continued to go to class and/or took their final exam, to avoid being subject to the return of Title IV aid. If a student is not taking a course that spans the entire summer term, but instead is enrolled in individual modules, and does not receive a passing grade in any individual module, he or she could be subject to the Return of Title IV aid, unless the student can demonstrate that he or she earned the failing grade.