Return of Title IV Federal Financial Aid

Treatment and Return of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws

(Summary of the requirements of 34 CFR 668.22)

Students who stop attending a class during the semester may not be eligible for some or all of the financial aid received for the semester. Funds for which students are no longer eligible must be returned to the appropriate funding program.  If you are considering withdrawing from your classes, we strongly encourage you to talk to the Financial Aid Office and the Cashier’s Office to determine the possible changes to your charges and financial aid. 

The law specifies how we must determine the amount of Title IV financial aid that you earn if you withdraw. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and Federal Perkins Loans.

Though your aid is posted to your account at the start of each semester, you earn the funds as you complete your classes. If you withdraw during your payment period or period of enrollment, the amount of Title IV financial aid that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula (see below for an example). If you received (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds. If you received more assistance than you earned, you must return the excess funds to RRCC, and we will return it to the Department of Education.

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, we must get your permission before we can disburse the funding to you.  We are required to send a post-withdrawal notification to you no later than 30 days after the date that the school determined that you withdrew. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. We may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. We need your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If you do not give your permission (issued at the time you enroll), you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school.

There are some Title IV funds that you were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year undergraduate student loan borrower and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not receive any Direct Loan funds that you would have received if you remained enrolled past the 30th day.

If you receive (or your school or parent receive on your behalf) excess Title IV aid that must be returned, we must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:

  1. your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or
  2. the entire amount of excess funds.

We must return this amount even if we didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds.  

If we are not required to return all of the excess funds, you must return the remaining amount.

Calculation Example

Repayment is required of all Title IV recipients who withdraw prior to completing at least 60.01% of the term.

A student received a Pell Grant for $2775.00 for full time enrollment (12 credit hours). Tuition, fees, and bookstore charges for the term totaled $1546.94. The student withdrew on the 44th day of the term. The length of the term totaled 106 days. The student completes 44 of 106 calendar days (44/106).

Percentage of Title IV aid earned: 41.5%
Original Pell Offer: $2775.00
Amount of Title IV aid earned: $2775.00 x 41.5% = $1151.63
Amount of Title IV aid unearned: $2775.00 -$1151.63= $1623.37 (amount to be returned)
Student's institutional charges incurred: $1546.94
Percentage of Title IV aid unearned: 100% - 41.5% = 58.5%
Institutional charges unearned: $1546.94 x 58.5% = $904.96
Pell Grant to be returned to the Dept. of Ed by RRCC: $904.96
Initial amount of unearned Title IV aid due from student: $1623.37 - $904.96 = $718.41
Amount of Title IV grant protection: $2775.00 x 50% = $1387.50
Title IV grant funds for student to return: $718.41 - $1387.50 =$0.00

RRCC policy requires the student to repay the unearned institutional charges of $904.96 to RRCC. RRCC is required to refer a student to the U.S. Department of Education for collection upon failure to repay a grant overpayment. The student then becomes ineligible to receive further Title IV funds at any US institution until satisfactory payment arrangements are made.

Order of Return of Title IV Funds

We must return Title IV funds to the programs from which you received aid during the payment period or period of enrollment as applicable, in the following order, up to the net amount disbursed from each source:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan

  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan

  • Direct PLUS Loan

  • Federal Pell Grant for which a return is required

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for which a return of funds is required.

Determining the Date of Withdrawal

When a student withdraws from a course or ceases to attend, they establish a withdrawal date at that time.
    1. Official Withdrawals: The withdrawal date is the date the student completes the College withdrawal process. When all courses receive a ‘W’ grade, the withdrawal date is considered the date the student or school initiated the withdrawal process.
    2. Unofficial Withdrawals: The last date of attendance for an unofficial withdrawal is the documented date recorded by the College or, if no date is available, the midpoint of the student’s term of enrollment. The last date of attendance is the last date a student participated in an academically related activity.  When RRCC instructors report 'F' grades, they include a student's last date of attendance.
    3. A student is considered to have withdrawn from a payment period or period of enrollment if, within that same payment period or period of enrollment, the student does not complete all the days the student was scheduled to complete.
    4. Withdrawal Dates for Courses Offered In Modules: If a student is enrolled in at least one module course, they are considered a module student and thus the following conditions apply.  If a student withdraws from one module and is not attending another course at the time of withdrawal, the student must submit written confirmation of attendance in a future module to the Financial Aid Office or it will be assumed that the student has withdrawn from all classes and is not planning on returning, which will impact the amount of funds the student may be subject to return.

Written Confirmation of Future Attendance

   1. A student is not considered to have withdrawn if the College obtains written confirmation from the student close to the date that the student actually ceased attendance and before the time the College was required to return Title IV funds, offer any post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, or take any other action under the Return of Title IV requirements, that the student will attend a module that begins later in the same payment period or period of enrollment.
   2. A student may also reaffirm their intent to attend by registering for a future course at the time of the withdrawal.
   3. A College may not wait to perform a Return of Title IV Funds calculation to see if the student who has withdrawn and has not provided written confirmation of future attendance will return later in the payment period or period of enrollment. If a student withdraws from a term-based credit-hour program offered in modules during a payment period or period of enrollment and reenters prior to the end of the period, the student is eligible to receive any Title IV program funds that they were otherwise eligible to receive prior to withdrawal.
   4. If the student does not return for the future module after providing written confirmation of future attendance, a return calculation must be completed.

Time Frame for Determining a Withdrawal Date

   1. Official withdrawals—The withdrawal date is determined within 30 days of the date of withdrawal.
   2. Unofficial withdrawals—The withdrawal date is determined within 30 days of the end of the term.

Academically Related Activity

An academically related activity may be used by faculty to establish the last date of attendance. These include physically attending a course where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students, such as:

 - Submitting an academic assignment,
 - Taking an exam,
 - Attending a study group assigned by the College,
 - Participating in an online discussion about academic matters, and
 - Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.

The College is to exclude those activities where the student is not academically engaged such as:

 - Logging into an online course without active participation, or
 - Participating in academic counseling or advisement.
 - For students enrolled in a distance education context, logging in is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. A College must demonstrate that a student has participated.