Withdrawal and Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy

If you’re receiving financial aid grants or loans, you must attend your classes. Don’t drop or stop attending any class without consulting the Financial Aid Team. Changes in your enrollment level and failing grades may require you to repay federal financial aid funds.

Federal regulations require you to repay a portion of financial aid funds if you withdraw from all classes before satisfying the 60 percent completion rule for the enrollment term.

The 60 percent dates for 2015-2016 PSU Undergraduate fall and spring semesters are:
•Fall 2015: after November 2, 2015
•Spring 2016:  after April 4, 2016

It is important to recognize that there are potentially two forms of financial aid that may be refunded if a student withdraws:  federal and institutional funds. If the university requires the student to withdraw, there will be no refund. For more information on PSU’s Refund Policy, please contact Student Account Services.

[expandable title=”How a withdrawal affects financial aid”]

Federal regulations require Title IV financial aid funds to be awarded under the assumption that a student will attend the institution for the entire period in which federal assistance was awarded. When a student withdraws from all courses for any reason, including medical withdrawals, he/she may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that he/she was originally scheduled to receive.  Students must attend at least 60% of any term federal aid is received to earn the entire amount disbursed at the beginning of a term.

The return of funds is based upon the premise that students earn their financial aid in proportion to the amount of time in which they are enrolled. A pro-rated schedule is used to determine the amount of federal student aid funds he/she will have earned at the time of the withdrawal. Thus, a student who withdraws in the second week of classes has earned less of his/her financial aid than a student who withdraws in the seventh week. Once 60% of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his/her financial aid and will not be required to return any funds. Federal law requires schools to calculate how much federal financial aid a student has earned if that student:

  • completely withdraws, or
  • stops attending before completing the semester, or
  • does not complete a Part of Term, (courses which are second half of a semester for which he/she has registered)

Based on this calculation, Plymouth State University (PSU) students who receive federal financial aid and do not complete their classes during a semester or term could be responsible for repaying a portion of the aid they received. Students who do not begin attendance must repay all financial aid disbursed for the term. The following policies will help you to understand that a withdrawal potentially affects students academically as well as financially. We encourage students to read all the information below prior to making a final decision.

Important:  Before withdrawing, undergraduate students must contact the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs office to formalize their withdrawal from the University.

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs

Speare Admin. Bldg – Rm. 305

17 High Street MSC #4 Plymouth, NH 03264<
Phone: (603) 535-2240 Fax: (603) 535-3006

Hours: 8:00am – 12:00, 1:00 – 4:30pm

An official PSU withdrawal form also must be completed. To officially withdraw, contact must be made with the Vice President for Student Affairs, not an instructor, advisor, faculty secretary or any other University personnel.

 

[/expandable]

[expandable title=”How the earned financial aid is calculated”]

Students who receive federal financial aid must “earn” the aid they receive by staying enrolled in classes. The amount of federal financial aid assistance the student earns is on a pro-rated basis. Students who withdraw or do not complete all registered classes during the semester may be required to return some of the financial aid they were awarded. Institutions are required to determine the percentage of Title IV aid “earned” by the student and to return the unearned portion to the appropriate aid programs.

Regulations require schools to perform calculations within 30 days from the date the school determines a student’s complete withdrawal. The school must return the funds within 45 days of the calculation. The R2T4 calculation process and return of funds is completed by PSU’s Student Financial Aid Office.  For example, if a student completes 30 percent of the payment period, they earn 30 percent of the aid they were originally scheduled to receive. This means that 70 percent of the scheduled awards remain “unearned” and must be returned to the federal government. Once 60% of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his/her financial aid and will not be required to return any federal funds.

The following formula is used to determine the percentage of unearned aid that has 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 calendar days in the payment period (less any scheduled breaks that are at least 5 days long).
  • The payment period for most students is the entire semester. However, for students enrolled in Part of Term (courses which are not scheduled for the entire semester or term), the payment period only includes those days of the course) in which the student is registered.
  • The percent unearned is equal to 100 percent minus the percent earned.

For students enrolled in Part of Term: A student is considered withdrawn if the student does not complete all of the days in the payment period that the student was scheduled to complete. Plymouth State University (PSU) will track enrollment in each class (courses in a program that do not span the entire length of the payment period combined to form a term, for example, summer sessions) to determine if a student began enrollment in all scheduled courses.

If a student officially drops courses in a part of term course while still attending a current course, the student is not considered as withdrawn based on not attending the later course. However, a recalculation of aid based on a change in enrollment status may still be required. Students who provide written confirmation to PSU at the time of ceasing attendance that they plan to attend another course later in the same payment period are not considered to have withdrawn from the term.

If the student does not provide written confirmation of plans to return to school later in the same payment period or term, PSU considers the student to have withdrawn and begins the R2T4 process.  However, if the student does return to PSU in the same term, even if they did not provide written confirmation of plans to do so, the student is not considered to have withdrawn after all and is eligible to receive the Title IV funds for which the student was eligible before ceasing attendance. PSU’s Financial Aid Office will then reverse the R2T4 process and provide additional funds that the student is eligible to receive at the time of return.

Institutional funds are earned and recalculated based on the pro-rated policy as described for federal financial aid funds. Tuition/fee refunds also affect the recalculation of institutional financial aid.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Steps in the return of Title IV funds policy”]

Step 1: Student’s Title IV information PSU’s Financial Aid Office will determine: A. The total amount of Title IV aid disbursed for the semester in which the student withdrew. A student’s Title IV aid is counted as aid disbursed in the calculation if it has been applied to the student’s account on or before the date the student withdrew. B. The total amount of Title IV aid disbursed plus the Title IV aid that could have been disbursed for the semester in which the student withdrew.

Step 2: Percentage of Title IV aid earned PSU’s Financial Aid Office will calculate the percentage of Title IV aid earned as follows: The number of calendar days completed by the student divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester in which the student withdrew. The total number of calendar days in a semester shall exclude any scheduled breaks of more than five days. Days Attended ÷ Days in Enrollment Period = Percentage Completed If the calculated percentage completed exceeds 60%, then the student has “earned” all the Title IV aid for the enrollment period.

Step 3: Amount of Title IV aid earned by the student PSU’s Financial Aid Office will calculate the amount of Title IV aid earned as follows: The percentage of Title IV aid earned (Step 2) multiplied by the total amount of Title IV aid disbursed or that could have been disbursed for the term in which the student withdrew (Step 1-A). Total Aid Disbursed x Percentage Completed = Earned Aid

Step 4: Amount of Title IV aid to be disbursed or returned

  • If the aid already disbursed equals the earned aid, no further action is required.
  • If the aid already disbursed is greater than the earned aid, the difference must be returned to the appropriate Title IV aid program. Total Disbursed Aid Earned Aid = Unearned Aid to be Returned
  • If the aid already disbursed is less than the earned aid, then PSU’s Financial Aid Office will calculate a post-withdrawal disbursement (PWD).  This aid will be disbursed to the student within 90 days of school’s determination that student withdrew and credit student’s account for any outstanding current period charges from grant funds before loan funds.  PSU will notify the student in writing of any PWD eligibility within 30 days of school’s determination that student withdrew and provide information on type and amount of funds.  The student will have the option to accept/decline all or part within 14 days of notice.  [/expandable]

[expandable title=”Types of withdrawals”]

For financial aid purposes there are two types of withdrawals: Official and Unofficial.

  • Official withdrawal from PSU by the student. The current academic year’s policy Withdrawal Refund Policy can be found in Plymouth State University’s Academic Catalog – Student Withdrawal Refund Policy.  College of Graduate Studies Students should use the Graduate Course Add or Drop/Withdrawal Form
  • Federal financial aid regulations consider a student to be an unofficial withdrawal if the student receives all fail (E/F) grades or a combination of all fail (E/F) and withdraw (W) grades for the term.
[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Determination of the withdrawal date”]

The withdrawal date used in the return calculation of a student’s federal financial aid is the actual date indicated on the official drop form.  If a student stops attending classes without notifying PSU, PSU will contact instructors in an attempt to identify a last day or any academic-related activity or use the midpoint of the semester (PSU does not require attendance to be recorded by instructors).  Additional documentation supporting the last date of academic activity may be provided by the student if they verify a later date of attendance than determined by PSU.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Withdrawing prior to completing 60 percent of a term”]

Unless a student completes 60 percent of the term in which federal aid was disbursed, the student will be required to return all or part of the financial aid disbursed in the term. This applies to students who have officially (including medical), or unofficially withdrawn. If your college has a different start and end date for the payment period, contact the Financial Aid Office for the 60 percent completion date.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”When a student fails to begin attendance”]

If a student receives financial aid, but never attends classes, the Student Financial Aid Office must return all disbursed funds to the respective federal and institutional aid programs.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”When a student fails to earn a passing grade in any class”]

If the student has not officially withdrawn but has failed to earn a passing grade in at least one class for the term, federal regulations require the school to determine whether the student established eligibility for financial aid.  Eligibility is based on if the student attended at least one class or participated in any PSU academic-related activity. All disbursed funds must be returned to the respective federal and institutional aid programs if the student cannot prove that he/she began attendance. For more information regarding this topic see the section Students who receive all failing grades at the end of the term.[/expandable][expandable title=”Students who receive all failing grades at the end of the term”] Financial aid is awarded under the assumption that the student will attend Plymouth State University (PSU) for the entire term for which federal assistance was disbursed. When the student has failed to earn a passing grade in at least one class for the term, federal regulations require the school to determine whether the student established eligibility for funds disbursed by attending at least one class or participating in any PSU academic-related activity.

If the school cannot verify that the student attended PSU, all financial aid must be repaid to the federal and institutional programs. The student’s account will be charged and the student will be responsible for any balance due. When the student has a combination of failed and withdraw grades for the term, financial aid will attempt to identify the last day of any academic-related activity or use the mid-point in a term, if a date is unavailable.  The student’s account will be charged, and the student will be responsible for any balance due.

If the student can prove to have participated in a PSU class or academic-related activity past the 60% date, the student will not be required to return any disbursed financial aid. The student’s account will be updated and the student will be responsible for any other charges that may have been applied to their account. Students who are able to verify attendance beyond PSU’s records may submit supporting documentation to PSU Financial Aid Office. The student must submit supporting documentation within 30 days from the last date used to determine aid eligibility. Recalculations for aid eligibility will not automatically be performed for documentation received after that date.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Repayment calculation process”]

Once grades are posted for the student who receives all failing grades, PSU will review aid eligibility and return all unearned aid back to the federal and institutional programs and the student’s account will be charged. The Student Account Services office will mail a notification letter with the repayment amount(s) to the student’s mailing address. The student’s account will be updated, and the student will be responsible for any balance due. A statement reflecting these charges will be sent to the student by the Student Account Services office

[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Definition of an academic related activity”]

Examples of Plymouth State University (PSU) academic-related activities include but are not limited to physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Proof of participation”]

  • Exams or quizzes
  • Tutorials
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Completion of an academic assignment, paper or project
  • Participating in an online discussion about academic matters
  • Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course
  • PSU required study group where attendance is taken[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Documentation not acceptable as proof of participation:”]

  • Student’s self-certification of attendance that is not supported by school documentation
  • Verification of Enrollment form issued by the Registrar’s Office
  • Living in PSU housing
  • Participating in the school’s meal plan
  • Participating in academic counseling or advising[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Return of Title IV funds for students enrolled in parts of term”]

Overview

These new regulations aim to provide for consistent and equitable treatment of students who withdraw from a program measured in credit hours, regardless of whether courses in the program span the entire term or consist of shorter modules.

Program integrity principles

  • Title IV funds are awarded to a student to attend an entire payment period or period of enrollment, and the funds are intended to cover the student’s educational and living expenses for the entire period.
  • Federal law specifies that a student earns Title IV funds on a pro-rated basis through 60 percent of a period based on the actual days completed. For the purposes of federal aid programs, PSU must be able to document a student’s active participation in an academic activity.

Regulatory requirements

  • A student is considered to have withdrawn from a payment period or period of enrollment in which the student began enrollment if the student ceased attendance in all scheduled courses without completing all of the days the student was scheduled to complete in the period.
  • However, if a student provides written confirmation to PSU before ceasing attendance that the student plans to attend another course later in the same period, the student is not considered to have withdrawn. For a nonstandard-term or non-term program, the next course the student plans to attend during the period must begin within 45 days after the end of the course the student ceased or failed to attend in order for the student not to be considered withdrawn. If a student does not resume attendance within the scheduled timeframe, the student is considered to have withdrawn as of the date on which attendance ceased.
  • If a student does not provide written confirmation of plans to return to school later in the same period, a school considers the student to have withdrawn and performs a return of Title IV funds (R2T4) calculation to determine if any funds must be returned. However, if the student does return to school in the same period — even if the student did not provide written confirmation of plans to do so — the student is not considered to have withdrawn and is eligible to receive Title IV funds for which the student was eligible before ceasing attendance. PSU must reverse the R2T4 process and provide any additional funds the student is eligible to receive at the time of return.
  • The rule impacts all programs offering courses shorter than an entire term, including semester-based programs with a summer term consisting of two consecutive six-week summer sessions.
[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Repayment calculation of unearned aid as a result of a withdrawal”]

As a result of a withdrawal, students who received federal funds will be required to repay “unearned” aid. The repayment calculation is performed utilizing the federal government’s repayment calculation: “Treatment of Title IV Funds When a Student Withdraws from a Credit-Hour Program” Specific details can be found on the order of return of title IV funds in Step 6 (by School) and Step 10 (by the student) on this Worksheet.   The amount of the assistance earned is determined on a pro-rated basis. For example, if a student completed 30% of the term, they have earned 30% of the assistance they were originally scheduled to receive. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the term, the student earns all the assistance they were scheduled to receive for the term.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Student notification of repayment”]

A notification letter from PSU’s Student Account Services office will be provided outlining the amount(s) returned to the appropriate federal and institutional program(s) on the student’s behalf and will subsequently bill the student’s account.  A statement reflecting these charges will be provided to the student. The student is responsible for all charges and overpayments resulting from a Return of Title IV calculation.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Overpayment of federal grant funds”]

Federal regulations provide that 50% of the unearned amount of all federal grants is protected by the federal calculation (see steps 9 and 10 of the federal government’s repayment worksheet). Any grant amount subject to repayment will be billed to the student’s account by Student Account Services as an overpayment.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Additional loan information to consider when withdrawing”]

The federal repayment calculation also has additional loan amounts that the student and parent may be responsible to return directly to the U.S. Department of Education (see step 8 of the federal government’s repayment worksheet).

Important: Anytime a student is enrolled less than part-time the grace period begins. The student’s grace period for loan repayments for Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Subsidized Loans will begin on the day of the withdrawal from the school. If the student is not enrolled part-time for more than 6 months, the loans will go into repayment. The student must contact the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or his/ her lender(s) to make payment arrangements. Loans must be repaid by the loan borrower (student/parent) as outlined in the terms of the borrower’s promissory note. The student should contact the lender if he/she has questions regarding their grace period or repayment status.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”School and student responsibility for return of unearned federal funds”]

The student and the school are both responsible for returning unearned federal financial aid to the federal government. The student will be billed for any amount due as a result of the return of federal aid funds (R2T4) calculation.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”Repayment of unearned funds”]

PSU’s Student Account Services office (SAS) will notify students of any funds needing to be repaid.  The student/parent will be permitted to repay loans based on the terms of the Master Promissory Note (MPN) which usually consists of scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time. Students will also receive notice from SAS regarding repayment of institutional funds. If the student owes any money to PSU resulting from the return of federal or institutional funds, the student will be billed by PSU’s Student Account Services office.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”School and Student responsibilities in regard to the R2T4 policy & process”]

Plymouth State University’s responsibilities in regard to the Return of Title IV funds

  1. Providing each student with the information given in this policy;
  2. Identifying students affected by this policy and completing the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) calculation;
  3. Informing the student of the result of the R2T4 calculation and any balance owed to PSU as a result of a required return of funds;
  4. Returning any unearned Title IV aid that is due to the Title IV programs and, if applicable, notifying the borrower’s holder of federal loan funds of the student’s withdrawal date;
  5. Notifying student and/or Plus borrower of eligibility for a Post-Withdraw Disbursement, if applicable.

Student’s responsibilities in regard to the Return of Title IV funds

    1. Becoming familiar with the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) policy and how withdrawing from all courses effects eligibility for Title IV aid; and
    2. Resolving any outstanding balance owed to the PSU resulting from a required return of unearned Title IV aid.
[/expandable]

[expandable title=”How institutional aid is affected by a withdrawal”]

All institutional aid provided by Plymouth State University is based on need and/or academic achievement. Any change in enrollment status may cause the amount of the award to be recalculated.   Credit balances will not be released to a student until institutional aid has been repaid.[/expandable]

[expandable title=”How a withdrawal affects future financial aid eligibility”]

Refer to Plymouth State University (PSU) Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy to determine how a withdrawal will impact future financial aid eligibility.[/expandable]

April 7th, 2014 by Eric

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