Return of Title IV Funds
Return of Funds When a Student Withdraws or Takes a Leave of Absence
If a student needs to withdraw or take a leave of absence (LOA) before a semester has concluded, federal and state laws require the Financial Aid Office to determine how much federal and state financial aid the student has earned while enrolled, and whether any financial aid needs to be returned. The federal return of funds regulations apply to the following types of funding:
Federal Direct Loans: Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS
Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
While a student’s aid will typically be disbursed after the add/drop period each semester, a student does not earn the full amount of aid they were awarded for the term until they have completed 60% of the semester. Therefore, if a student leaves school before the 60% point, the Financial Aid Office will apply the federal government’s formula to determine what percentage of the aid the student has earned. The amount of time completed is based on calendar days in the semester and the withdrawal date of the student. For example, if a student withdraws or takes a leave of absence after completing 30% of the semester, the student will earn 30% of the aid that they were awarded for the semester.
If a student’s federal aid has not been disbursed when they leave the University, they may qualify for a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the student’s post-withdrawal disbursement contains federal loan funds, they must give the Financial Aid Office permission to apply these funds to their student account. We will notify a student of their eligibility for a post-withdrawal disbursement, and the student must respond to our office and confirm that they wish for the loan funds to be disbursed. If a student does not respond, their post-withdrawal loan disbursement will be canceled. If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds, these funds will first be applied to any institutional charges for tuition, fees, room, and board on their student account, and once those charges are covered, any excess funds will be refunded to the student. If a student does not need their post-withdrawal loan disbursement to cover their balance due at FSU, we recommend that the student reduces or declines it to keep their overall borrowing level low.
If all of a student’s federal aid for the semester has been disbursed, and they have not completed 60% of the semester, the Financial Aid Office will use the federal government’s Return of Title IV Funds formula to determine how much and what types of federal funding should be returned to the government. A portion of the excess funding may need to be returned by the Financial Aid Office, and a portion may need to be returned by the student. If a student is responsible for returning any excess loan funds, they will repay these in accordance with the terms of the Master Promissory Note they signed prior to receiving their loan, and they will make scheduled payments to their loan holder over time.
We will notify a student in writing of changes made to their financial aid award as a result of the Return of Title IV Funds calculation. If a student has borrowed Federal Direct Loans while at Framingham State University (FSU), we will provide the student with instructions for completing required exit counseling at www.studentloans.gov.
Students Who Fail to Earn Credits for a Semester
If a student does not pass any courses for a semester, the Financial Aid Office is required to determine whether the student is considered an unofficial withdrawal for financial aid purposes. If the student’s instructors cannot confirm their attendance in an academically related activity past the 60% point of the semester, the student may be considered an unofficial withdrawal, and the Financial Aid Office will need to return some of the student’s federal and possibly state funding. If a student stops attending all of their classes during a semester, it is important that they begin the official university process to withdraw or take a leave of absence.
State Aid Refund Procedures
As with federal regulations, the Financial Aid Office may need to return some of the student’s state-funded financial aid if they leave the University before completing 60% of a semester. Funds we may need to return include state-funded tuition waivers, MASSGrants, FSU Grants, the Adams Scholarship, and the MA No Interest Loan. If we need to return or reduce a student’s state financial aid, we will notify the student at the same time that we notify them of any changes to their federal or institutional financial aid for the semester. If a student borrowed a MA No Interest Loan while a student at FSU, they will need to complete the state’s No Interest Loan online exit counseling at www.heartland.ecsi.net.
A student may owe a balance as a result of the return of financial aid. FSU’s refund policies for institutional charges such as tuition, fees, room, and board are different from the state and federal policies requiring that financial aid be returned. Therefore, the student may be charged for full tuition and fees even if they are not eligible for all of their financial aid for the semester. Please see the Student Accounts website for more information regarding the University’s refund policies: https://www.framingham.edu/admissions-and-aid/student-accounts/refund-policy
Institutional aid awarded to students for the semester may be reduced if the student receives a partial or full refund of institutional charges for the semester.
If a student is thinking of withdrawing, taking a leave of absence, or dropping courses, they should contact the Financial Aid Office. It is a good idea to sit down with a financial aid counselor to review their options. We can also provide the student with a sample calculation of the return of funds for state and federal aid upon request.