Federal financial aid policy will affect students who withdraw from all classes

Students who are considering withdrawing from all classes at St. Thomas and are receiving federal financial aid should plan on talking to a financial aid counselor before withdrawing from courses.

The federal financial aid policy requires that students earn their federal aid based on the amount of time they attend classes at St. Thomas. In order to earn all their federal aid, students must attend classes through 60 percent of the semester (Nov. 6, 2005, for fall semester for undergraduate and most graduate programs). If a student withdraws before this date, the financial aid office is required to calculate how much of a student’s federal aid he or she has earned and return the unearned portion to the federal government.

This federal financial aid policy differs from the St. Thomas institutional refund policy. This federal requirement may mean that students will end up owing St. Thomas money because some of their financial aid has been returned.

Federal financial aid includes: Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Perkins Loans, Pell Grants, SEOG Grants and the Byrd Scholarship. Students who are receiving aid through any of these programs may want to meet with the financial aid office to consider the financial implications of withdrawing from school. There are no special circumstances (such as medical emergencies) that can prevent federal funds from being returned to the federal aid programs.