Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy for Undergraduate Students

Withdrawals and the Return of Federal Title IV Aid for Undergraduate Students

If you withdraw from the University of St. Thomas during a semester, January term or summer session, a calculation of "earned" versus "unearned" federal aid must be determined. In order to earn your financial aid, you must have attended and/or actively participated in the class(es) for which you were registered. This federal policy assumes you earn your aid based on how much time has elapsed in the term at the time that you stopped attending and/or participating in courses. If you receive federal financial aid, that aid may be reduced as a result of your withdrawal.

There are four steps which St. Thomas must complete to comply with the federal policy:

  1. For each class in which you were registered, we must determine whether you ever attended or participated in any academic activity.
  2. We must determine the withdrawal date based on the last date of attendance or
    class participation.
  3. We must calculate the amount of earned federal aid.
  4. We must return any unearned federal funds to the appropriate program(s).

Upon your withdrawal, the Financial Aid Office will contact your instructors to determine when you last attended or had academic activity in their classes. The date established as the latest date among their responses will act as your withdrawal date in our calculation of earned financial aid.

When you withdraw before completing 60 percent of the term, you "earn" federal funds in direct proportion to the length of time you were enrolled. The percentage of earned aid is determined by dividing the total number of calendar days you attended or participated in academic activity by the total number of calendar days in the term, including weekends and holidays and excluding any scheduled breaks longer than 5 days. The resulting percentage is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed to your university student account for the semester. This calculation determines the amount of aid that you are allowed to keep. The unearned amount of aid must be returned to the federal government. If you complete at least 60 percent of the term, you earn all federal financial aid for the term.

For example, if you last attended on the 53rd day of the term, and the term was a total length of 110 days, the percentage of your earned aid would be 53 divided by 110, or 48%. If a total of $2,750 in federal aid was disbursed to you, you would earn 48% ($1,320) and the unearned portion of 52% ($1,430) would be returned to the respective federal aid program.

Undergraduate Classes Offered in 'Modules'

St. Thomas offers undergraduate classes that do not span an entire semester or the summer session – those classes are classified as classes offered in modules – the following rules apply to classes offed in modules:

A module is any class that does not span the full semester or term. If some courses span the entire period but some do not (modules), the program is determined to be offered in modules for any student scheduled to attend at least one course that does not span the entire period and withdraws during the period. The following information applies to students enrolled in modules who withdraw from course(s).

With the September 2, 2020 federal final regulations, the following rules for students enrolled in modules went into effect as of 7/1/2021. If the student who has withdrawn meets any of these exemptions, the student is not considered a withdrawal and therefore the federal withdrawal calculation is not required:

Withdrawal Calculation Exemption – Graduation during scheduled enrollment period-

A student who completes all the requirements for graduation from his or her program before completing the days in the scheduled payment period is not considered to have withdrawn. This exemption applies whether the student is enrolled in classes that span the entire payment period or are enrolled in modules.

Withdrawal Calculation Exemption – Successful Completion of 49% or More Days in the Payment Period

  • Successful completion of one module that includes 49% or more of the number of countable days in the payment period or
  • A combination of successfully completed modules that when combined equal 49% or more of the number of countable days in the payment period.

Withdrawal Calculation Exemption – Successful Completion of Half-Time Enrollment

For semester and summer session programs offered in modules, it is not considered a withdrawal if the student successfully completes Title IV eligible coursework equal to or greater than half-time enrollment.

Half-time enrollment at St. Thomas is defined as enrollment in at least 6 credits in the semester or summer sessions.

Successful Completion:

If a student successfully completes one or more modules, the number of days completed becomes the Numerator of the calculation to determine whether they qualify for the 49% or > the federal withdrawal calculation exemption.

  • Completion of one or more modules and earned at least one passing grade for module(s)
  • Incompletes (no matter how identified or without any grade) are not considered successful completion (such as clinicals, thesis, dissertation, etc. when no passing grade is assigned upon completion of the module)
  • Failing grades are never considered successful completion for purposes of this exemption from the withdrawal calculation.

Withdrawal Calculation Exemption – Written Confirmation that a student will attend a later session.

If at the time a student ceases attendance in a module within the payment period/period of enrollment the student provides written confirmation that they will attend a module that begins later in the same payment period/period of enrollment (and that module is no more than 45 calendar days after the end of the module the student ceased attending) then the student is not considered to have withdrawn for Return to Title IV purposes and the institution can hold off performing the Return to Title IV Calculation at that time. If the institution received written confirmation of future enrollment in the payment period/period of enrollment but the student does not attend as scheduled, the student is then considered to have withdrawn from the payment period/period of enrollment for Return to Title IV purposes and the institution must then proceed with the Return to Title IV calculation within 14 days after the date the student was scheduled to resume attendance.

No Withdrawal Calculation Freeze Date (No WCFD)

This applies to students who have withdrawn, are enrolled in modules, and who do not meet any of the withdrawal calculation exemptions. St. Thomas has a No WCFD policy. Student enrollment changes are monitored throughout the enrollment period and may impact the denominator used in the Return of Title IV Funds calculation.

If the student only received a Federal Pell Grant and/or Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant, the days in a module only need to be included in the withdrawal calculation denominator if the student attends even one day in the module. These programs require a reduction to the grant for any coursework that the student did not attend.

If the student receives Direct Loan or FSEOG during the enrollment period, the days in the module must be included in the withdrawal calculation if the student attended any days at any time during the enrollment period. This is because the student’s Cost of Attendance is affected by the student’s enrollment in all modules during the payment period.

Unofficial Withdrawals

Students who fail to complete any of their coursework (any combination of final grades ‘F’, ‘W’, ‘R’, or ‘NR’) are considered unofficially withdrawn for the term. The Financial Aid Office will contact your instructors to determine when you last attended or had academic activity in their classes. The withdrawal date will become the midpoint of the term, unless through contact with instructors we determine that your last date of academic activity is later than the midpoint, but before the 60% point of the term. If you attended any course through the full semester, you have not unofficially withdrawn.

The responsibility to repay unearned aid is shared by the institution (St. Thomas) and the student. The institution's share is the lesser of unearned aid or unearned institutional charges. The institution will return unearned funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days from the determination of a student’s withdrawal. The institution's share must be repaid to the federal aid programs in the following order, before the student's share is considered:

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  2. Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  3. Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (IASG)
  6. Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  7. Other Title IV Aid

If you are required to repay a portion of your loan through the student's share calculation, you will not be expected to return those funds immediately, but rather when repayment begins according to the terms and conditions of the promissory note. If your share includes grant funds, federal rules allow the grant to be reduced by 50 percent, and the University of St. Thomas will repay these grant programs on your behalf. You will then be responsible for repaying this money back to St. Thomas. If this causes undue hardship, a satisfactory payment arrangement can be made with St. Thomas.

Post Withdrawal Disbursements

If you, or a parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, receive less Title IV aid than the amount earned based on the Return to Title IV Calculation, the institution will offer you a disbursement (referred to as Post Withdrawal Disbursement) of the earned grant funds that you are eligible for or loan funds that were processed by but for which you did not receive payment prior to your withdrawal date.

Post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV Grant funds: The institution is permitted to credit your student account with the post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV grant funds without your permission for current charges of tuition, fees, and room and board (if Title IV Authorization is provided) up to the amount of outstanding charges. The institution will obtain your authorization to credit your student account with Title IV grant funds for charges other than current charges. The institution will make the disbursement as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date of the school’s determination of your withdrawal.

Post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV Loan funds: The institution will obtain confirmation from you, or parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, before making any disbursement of loan funds that you have accepted/applied for from a post-withdrawal disbursement. The institution will notify you, or the parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, in writing prior to making any post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds. The information provided will include the details necessary for you (i.e. type and amount of the loan funds), or parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, to make an informed decision as to whether you, or your parent, would like to accept any disbursement of loan funds and this notification will be provided within 30 days of the date of the institution’s determination that you have been withdrawn. This notice will include information that you, or your parent, do have the right to decline all or a portion of the funds. The notice will request written confirmation of any post-withdrawal disbursement that you, or a parent, wish to have disbursed. The institution will make any disbursement approved by you, or the parent, within 180 days from the date of the school’s determination of your withdrawal. If no confirmation is received within 14 days, the institution is not required to make the post-withdrawal disbursement.

Post Withdrawal Disbursements which create a credit balance due back to the student: Federal cash management regulations require a school to refund a Title IV credit balance to a student within 14 days. However, when a student withdraws with an outstanding Title IV credit balance, a school is first required to perform an R2T4 calculation to determine whether adjustments to the credit balance will occur.

Credit balances from an application of a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement will be refunded as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after any R2T4 adjustment has been made to the student’s account.

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