Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy
NAU Withdrawal policy regarding financial aid
Impact on federal financial aid awards Accordion Closed
Title IV federal student aid (federal grants, federal loans) is awarded under the assumption that a student will attend the institution the entire period for which the aid was awarded. When a student withdraws from courses for any reason, they may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds they received or were scheduled to receive. Students who receive federal financial aid and do not complete their classes (with a grade of D or better) in that term could be responsible for repaying all or a portion of the aid that was disbursed to them. Students who receive a disbursement but do not begin attendance must repay all financial aid disbursed for the term. The funds a student must repay is considered unearned aid.
Title IV federal aid considered in a withdrawal calculation is returned in the following order and includes:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
Calculating unearned aid Accordion Closed
Students who receive federal financial aid must earn the aid they receive by staying enrolled in and successfully completing courses. The amount of aid a student earns is pro-rated based on the number of days of attendance. Students with an official or unofficial withdrawal may be required to return some or all of the financial aid they received based on the federal Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation.
Once over 60% of the term is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of the financial aid disbursed and will not be required to return any federal funds. Students enrolled in modules, however, have unique calculations for this 60% point. A module is any course other than the standard 16-week session, such as 3-, 7.5-, or 8-week sessions; all summer sessions are modules.
The following information is used in the R2T4 calculation to determine the percentage of unearned aid that must 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 number of calendar days in the payment period (less any scheduled breaks that are at least 5 days long, such as spring break).
- The payment period is the period for which a student was awarded aid, which for most students is the entire semester. Students enrolled only in modules have a payment period that only includes the days of the modules in which the student is registered.
- The percent unearned is equal to 100% minus the percent earned.
Institutional funds are also earned and recalculated based on the proration policy for federal financial aid funds, and tuition and fee refunds affect the return of institutional aid.
Types of withdrawals and the last date of attendance Accordion Closed
For financial aid purposes, there are two types of withdrawals: Official and Unofficial.
- Official withdrawal – the student initiates the drop of all of the term’s courses by withdrawing in LOUIE or in the form of written documentation to the Office of the Registrar. The date the student began the withdrawal process or otherwise notified the university, in writing, of their intent to withdraw is considered the last date of attendance for withdrawal purposes. A student simply inquiring about the withdrawal process does not count as notification for this purpose. The student must state an intent to withdraw.
- Unofficial withdrawal – the student receives all fail (F) grades or a combination of all fail (F) and withdraw (W) grades. The last date of attendance is based on academic-related activity, and is provided by each course’s faculty member; the latest date is used for withdrawal purposes. If a student leaves the university without notifying the Registrar and the faculty member cannot determine a last date of attendance, the withdrawal will be calculated using the midpoint of the term.
- Personalized Learning students who earn all incomplete (I) grades in a subscription will be considered unofficially withdrawn. The last date of attendance will be used for withdrawal purposes.
Academic-related activity Accordion Closed
When determining the last date of attendance for an unofficial withdrawal, the last date of an academic activity will be used.
Acceptable forms of academic activity include:
- Physically attending a class where there is direct interaction between the instructor and students
- Exams, quizzes, or 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 course content
- Attending a required study group or Supplemental Instruction session where attendance is taken
Unacceptable forms of activity include:
- Student’s self-certification of attendance that is not supported by school documentation
- Verification of Enrollment form issued by the Office of the Registrar
- Living in on-campus housing
- Participating in the school’s meal plan
- Participating in academic counseling or advising
Withdrawal calculation timeline Accordion Closed
Once a student officially withdraws or the university learns that a student has unofficially withdrawn, NAU has 45 days to return the unearned funds to the Department of Education.
Post-Withdrawal Disbursements (PWD)
In compliance with federal regulations, an evaluation will be done to determine if all eligible aid was disbursed as of the withdrawal date. If not, and the student meets the criteria for a PWD, the student will be notified by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) of their eligibility within 30 days of determining the student’s date of withdrawal. After receiving this notification, the student must notify OSFA if they wish to accept the disbursement. A PWD would first be applied toward any outstanding charges before any funds are returned in a refund to the student. If no response is received within 10 business days of notification, the award will be cancelled.
Return of institutional aid Accordion Closed
It is the institution’s policy that if a student withdraws within the 100% tuition refund period, the student is no longer eligible for any institutional aid awarded, such as Merit-Based Tuition Scholarships, Financial Aid Trust Grant, University Grant, AZ Earn to Learn, etc. This aid will be cancelled at 100%.
If a student withdraws after the 100% tuition refund period, institutional aid will be adjusted only if the student has a pending refund after all unearned federal aid has been returned to the U.S. Department of Education. Institutional grant aid will be reduced by the refund amount to create a zero-balance on the student’s LOUIE account, or canceled if the pending refund is greater than the amount of institutional aid awarded. The OSFA Scholarships team will process any necessary adjustments to merit-based tuition and/or department scholarships. Students will not receive a refund of institutional aid after they withdraw.
Notification of repayment Accordion Closed
Once the withdrawal calculation has been processed by OSFA, a notification letter outlining the amount required to be returned to the federal and institutional program(s) will be mailed to the student’s home address. NAU will return funds on the student’s behalf to the appropriate federal and institutional aid program(s) and subsequently will bill the student’s LOUIE account. A statement reflecting these charges will be sent to the student by Student and Departmental Account Services (SDAS).
The student is responsible for all charges and overpayments of aid resulting from a Return of Title IV calculation.
Repayment of student aid Accordion Closed
Any loan amounts that are owed to the U.S. Department of Education after the return of funds by the school, must be repaid to the loan servicer according to the terms of the borrower’s Loan Agreement/Master Promissory Note.
Grant amounts returned to the U.S. Department of Education based on the R2T4 calculation must be repaid by the student to the university within 45 days of receiving notification from OSFA. If the amount cannot be paid in full, a repayment plan may be arranged with SDAS. If a student does not repay the full amount due or make a satisfactory payment arrangement within 45 days, the account will be turned over to the U.S. Department of Education as an overpayment of federal funds.
Students who owe Title IV funds are ineligible for further disbursements of federal financial aid programs at any institution until the overpayment is paid in full.
Future aid eligibility Accordion Closed
Refer to the OSFA Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy to determine how an official or unofficial withdrawal will impact future financial aid eligibility.
Students receiving a merit-based tuition scholarship should review the renewal criteria to determine how a withdrawal will affect their award.
Students who received loans at NAU and do not plan to return to school must complete Exit Counseling at studentaid.gov.
Intent to Enroll Accordion Closed
When a Title IV financial aid recipient is no longer enrolled in an active course, yet remains enrolled in at least one course scheduled to start later in the term, the institution is required to obtain written confirmation of intended future attendance in a Title IV eligible course later in the semester.
If a student fails to submit written confirmation of intended future attendance within a specified time frame, the institution must consider the student unofficially withdrawn and perform a Return of Title IV calculation on the student’s account. This could result in reduction or cancellation of disbursed federal and state aid for the term. The student would then be required to repay all or part of the reduced and/or cancelled aid disbursed during the term.
A student who is no longer enrolled in a current active course, yet remains enrolled in at least one course scheduled to start later in the term will be sent an e-mail notification to their NAU email account. The student must respond from that account and indicate whether or not they will remain enrolled in and complete the future course. This e-mail response must be received within 10 business days of notification.
Relevant federal policy(ies):
34 CFR 668.22(a)(2)(ii) Treatment of title IV funds when a student withdraws
Dear Colleague Letter GEN-11-14 Implementation of Program Integrity regulations