Return of Title IV Funds
POLICY ON FINANCIAL AID AND WITHDRAWAL FROM THE UNIVERSITY
When students withdraw from the university after the start of a semester but before the conclusion of it, the financial aid office needs to determine if the student has earned all of the financial aid awarded to him or her for that semester through the Federal Title IV financial aid programs (Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Direct Loans (including PLUS loans), and Federal Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.
Withdrawal from the University
In the event that a student wishes to withdraw from the University, these procedures must be followed:
- A Withdrawal from the University form must be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Students and signatures obtained on the form from the following offices, in the order indicated:
- Dean of Students (or designee)
- Student Accounts Office
- Financial Aid Office
- Residence Life (if in residence hall)
- Office of the University Registrar
- Students officially withdrawing from the University after the Course Add/Drop period and before the deadline of the Course Withdrawal period (prior to the end of the tenth week of the semester; see semester calendar) will receive a notation of “WX” in all courses. If a student chooses to withdraw from the University after the tenth week of the semester, s/he will receive a final grade in all courses. Students with extraordinary circumstances (such as documented hospitalization or sickness) should consult with the Dean of Students.
- All forms must be returned to the Office of the University Registrar. Note: A student is not officially withdrawn from the University until the appropriate form has been completed and has been validated by the Office of the University Registrar. Nonattendance does not constitute withdrawal from the University.
- If a student fails to complete the withdrawal form but notifies the University in writing, with a signed letter sent via fax or U.S. mail, or via an email sent from the student’s Framingham State email account of their intent to withdraw, the University will consider that as official notification of withdrawal.
Semester Leave of Absence – Undergraduate
A Leave of Absence (LOA) is a temporary interruption of one's studies at Framingham State University (FSU) for either the Fall or Spring semester of the Academic Year (Intersession and Summer terms are excluded) for which the matriculated undergraduate student does not choose to enroll in classes. A Leave of Absence is related only to the student’s continued enrollment at the University and is not recognized by federal regulations, so students on a leave of absence are treated as withdrawals for financial aid purposes.
Students may choose to request a Leave of Absence (LOA) from the university for a period of time not to exceed two consecutive semesters at a time. A student may request up to four (4) Leaves of Absence (LOA) during their enrollment at the University. Students granted an LOA retain their admitted student status and remain eligible for the
- Retain the university requirements in place for their academic programs at the time of their first semester at Framingham State University (FSU);
- FSU student e-mail and myFramingham portal access;
- Priority and self-registration for the approved semester of return.
Students granted LOA are not considered registered students and as non-enrolled students are not eligible for:
- Financial aid disbursements during the semesters while on LOA. Students on an LOA are reported to lenders and loan service agencies as "not enrolled" and need to contact lenders for information on possible repayment requirements;
- Enrollment verification since they are reported as "not enrolled," which could affect eligibility for health insurance, etc.;
Institutional Refund Policy
A percentage of tuition and fees is usually refunded if the student officially withdraws or takes a leave of absence within the first month of the semester. The dates of withdrawal and corresponding tuition and fee refund percentages can be found in the University Catalog on the Student Accounts Office’s website. Any tuition and fees refunded through the University’s refund policy will not affect the amount of aid earned through the Return of Title IV Funds calculation.
Withdrawal Date for Return of Title IV Funds
Framingham State University (FSU) does not take attendance, and the student’s withdrawal date will be the date that the student signed the withdrawal or leave of absence form and began the official withdrawal process.
If a student fails to notify the Office of the University Registrar of their intent to withdraw, but drops all of their classes for the semester, they will be treated as a withdrawal for the term, and the withdrawal date will be the date that the last class is dropped.
Students who notify staff in offices other than the Dean of Students and the Registrar that they wish to withdraw will be referred to the Dean of Students office to complete the official process.
Return of Title IV Funds Calculations and Process:
The Financial Aid Office is informed by the Office of the University Registrar via workflow of all student withdrawals. Each student withdrawal is checked to determine if the student ever received a Federal Direct loan and is sent exit counseling materials if they were a previous borrower. Any current financial aid recipients are forwarded to the Director of Financial Aid for a return of Title IV funds calculation. The Director or Associate Director of Financial Aid performs the Return of Title IV Funds calculation using the U.S Department of Education’s FAA Access website. Refund calculations for State funds are determined based on the Massachusetts State Refund Calculation Policy.
Return of Title IV Funds calculations are performed on a payment period basis. The amount of financial aid that a student earns for the semester is based on the aid that has been disbursed when the calculation is performed, the aid that could have been disbursed (but has not yet been disbursed) when the calculation is performed, the number of calendar days in the payment period (semester) and the number of calendar days for the payment period that the student was enrolled prior to withdrawal. Any scheduled breaks (such as spring break) of five days or more are deducted from the total number of calendar days in the semester. If the number of days that a student was enrolled equals less than 60 percent of the total calendar days (minus breaks) in the semester, Title IV funds may need to be returned by the school, the student, or both. If the student has completed 60 percent or more of the semester, they will retain any aid that has been disbursed, and may qualify for a post-withdrawal disbursement of funds that have not yet been disbursed.
Refund calculations must be completed within 30 days of the student’s withdrawal date (for official withdrawals). The student will be notified in writing within 30 days of withdrawal of any financial aid changes that result from the Return of Title IV Funds calculation. If the student must return funds that the school is not responsible for returning, the student will be notified of this within thirty days as well. Unearned funds that the school is responsible for returning will be returned within 45 days of the school’s determination that the student withdrew.
Federal and State refund calculations are cross-checked by financial aid staff for accuracy.
Federal Title IV Funds that the school must return will be returned in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans (other than Direct PLUS loans)
- Subsidized Direct Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Federal Pell Grants for which a return of Title IV funds is required
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants for which a return of Title IV funds is required
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant for which a return of Title IV funds is required
Unearned loan funds that the student or parent is responsible for repaying will be repaid over time in accordance with the terms of the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note(s). The Office of the University Registrar reports the student’s change in enrollment status to NSLDS via the National Student Clearinghouse, so that the student’s grace period for loans can begin and the student’s loan servicers can begin communicating with the student about loan repayment.
Unearned grant funds: The amount of grant funds that a student must repay is limited to one-half of the grant funds that the student received or could have received during the applicable payment period. A student also does not need to repay a grant overpayment of $50 or less. If a student owes such a repayment of grant funds, FSU will return the funds to the federal government on the student’s behalf. The student may then owe a balance to FSU, but will not be considered to have a Title IV grant overpayment.
Post Withdrawal Disbursements:
Students or parents (for Direct PLUS loans) that qualify for a post-withdrawal loan or grant disbursement will be notified of this in writing within 30 days of the school’s determination that the student withdrew. This notification will include the following:
- The amount and type of funds to be disbursed
- The student’s options to accept or decline some or all of the Title IV funds
- The obligation to repay any loan funds disbursed
- The timeframe to respond to the offer (response required for loans)
Students or parents must respond to their offer and accept the loan prior to disbursement. We ask students and parents to respond to the offer of a post-withdrawal loan disbursement within 14 days of the date that we notify them, but we will process a post-withdrawal disbursement if the student or parent accepts it in time for FSU to make the disbursement within 180 days of the date that the institution determined that the student withdrew. We request that students/parents respond to us to accept their post-withdrawal loan disbursement in writing (emailed responses are acceptable).
Post-withdrawal grant disbursements will be applied to the student account within 45 days of the date that the institution determined that the student withdrew, and if the student owes a balance of allowable charges, the funds will be applied toward that balance. If the student does not owe a balance to the university, or the post-withdrawal funds exceed the allowable charges, any excess grant or loan funds will be refunded to the student or parent.
Students who fail to earn any credits for the semester and have not initiated the University’s official withdrawal/leave of absence process may be considered unofficial withdrawals. Faculty records submitted to the University Registrar are used to determine whether students may have walked away and stopped attending classes. In such cases, the midpoint of the semester is used in the refund calculation, unless we receive documentation that the student participated in an academically related activity past that point. This determination is made within 30 days of the conclusion of each semester. The Return of Title IV funds and MA State Refund calculations will be performed, and the student will be notified in writing of the results within 30 days of the date of determination that the student withdrew. Any unearned funds that the school must return will be refunded to the federal government within 45 days of the date of determination.
Return of Title IV Funds Examples:
Susan enrolls at FSU for the fall semester and decides to withdraw and starts the official process on September 27. She is a commuter student. Based on that withdrawal date, she qualifies for a 40% refund of tuition and fees from the institution. At the time she withdraws, FSU has disbursed her Federal Pell Grant for the fall of $522, and an FSEOG grant of $100. Susan declined the federal student loans that were offered to her prior to her withdrawal.
There are 109 total calendar days in the semester, and Susan has been enrolled for 23 of those days. Based on this, she has completed 21% of the fall semester, and she has earned 21% of the aid awarded to her, or $131. FSU notifies Susan in writing within 30 days of her withdrawal that she qualifies for a post-withdrawal disbursement of $131, and that they will credit her student account with funds in that amount from the Federal Pell Grant program. Since Susan owes a balance to the University for the tuition and fees that were not refunded to her, the post-withdrawal disbursement of Federal Pell Grant funds will be used to pay part of her balance due.
Mark enrolls in the spring semester at FSU and decides to drop all of his classes on March 12. FSU considers this to be notification that Mark is withdrawing for the semester and performs a Return of Title IV funds calculation. Based on the withdrawal date of March 12, Mark does not qualify for a refund of tuition and fees for the spring semester. At the time of his withdrawal, Mark has received a Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan disbursement of $990 (after loan fees) for the spring semester, and has received a Federal Subsidized Direct Loan disbursement of $2,722 (after loan fees) for the spring semester.
There are 107 total calendar days in the spring semester, which does not include spring break. Mark has been enrolled for 50 of those days. Based on this, he has completed 47% of the spring semester, and he has earned 47% of his financial aid, or $1,745. Based on the calculation, FSU must return $1,967 of the net loan proceeds for the spring semester. The funds are returned to the Unsubsidized Direct loan program first, and the entire $990 Unsubsidized loan is returned first. The remaining $977 is returned to the Subsidized Direct Loan program.
Post Return Calculation Processing:
The Financial Aid Office informs the Student Accounts office of fund reversals or post-withdrawal disbursements. Fund returns/disbursements are reported by financial aid staff to the Common Origination and Disbursement system. The Business Office makes any required refunds to G5. Financial Aid Staff arranges for state funds to be returned in accordance with Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance refund policies and procedures. The Office of the University Registrar office reports the student’s change in enrollment status to NSLDS via the National Student Clearinghouse. The withdrawal process for students including dates and their corresponding tuition and fee refund percentages are published in the “All About Tuition and Fees” document prepared by the Student Accounts Office.
Unclaimed Credit Balances:
If a student has a credit balance on the student account generated by Title IV funds, these funds will be provided to them through an e-refund or check within fourteen days of disbursement. If the student fails to cash the check, the Student Accounts office will attempt to contact the student. Any unclaimed funds that still exist after 240 days must be returned to the Title IV fund or funds that generated the credit balance. Funds will be returned to Title IV financial aid programs in the same order as they are returned for Title IV Refund calculations (see Return of Title IV Funds Calculations and Process, above).