What Happens When a Financial Aid Recipient Withdraws?

Tuition Refund Policy

The university has a tuition refund policy that stipulates the amount of tuition and fees that are refunded to a student who withdraws from all classes during a term. The Registrar’s Office determines specific refund dates each term and publishes them on their website (once at this site, choose the appropriate term, then click on “Drop/Withdrawal”). The chart below shows the amount of tuition and fees returned to a student, depending upon when the student withdraws. Students must immediately notify the Registrar’s Office that they are withdrawing by following specific withdrawal procedures posted by the Office of the Registrar.

Return of Title IV (Federal) Financial Aid

Federal guidelines mandate, in the case of a student’s withdrawal from a college or university, that a calculation be applied to determine the percentage of aid that a student actually earned. Financial aid disbursed in excess of this calculated percentage must be returned to the appropriate federal aid programs (e.g., Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG). If a financial aid refund has been issued to the student prior to his/her withdrawal, it is very likely that a balance will result on the student’s account. This balance is the responsibility of the student to pay.

To determine the amount of aid the student has earned up to the time of withdrawal, OFA divides the number of calendar days the student has attended classes by the total number of calendar days in the semester (minus any scheduled breaks of 5 days or more). The resulting percentage is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed (either to the student’s university account or to the student directly by check or direct deposit) for the semester.

This calculation determines the amount of aid earned by the student that he or she may keep (for example, if the student attended 25% of the term, the student will have earned 25% of the aid disbursed). The unearned amount (total aid disbursed minus the earned amount) must be returned to the federal government by the university and/or the student. OFA will notify and provide instructions to students who are required to return funds to the government.

Students whose circumstances require that they withdraw from all classes are strongly encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Assistance and their academic advisor before doing so. At that time, the consequences of withdrawing from all classes can be explained and clearly illustrated. OFA’s financial aid counselors can provide refund examples and further explain this policy to students and parents.

Allocating Returned Title IV (Federal) Aid

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reimburse the individual federal programs from which the student received the aid. Financial aid returned (by the university and/or the student or parent) must be allocated, in the following order, up to the net amount disbursed from each source:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Federal Perkins Loan
  4. Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) Loan or Grad PLUS Loan
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
  7. National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant
  8. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  9. Other Federal Loan or Grant Assistance

Financial Aid Cancellation

In addition, the Office of Financial Assistance at the University of Illinois at Springfield places all students who completely withdraw during the semester on financial aid cancellation. In most cases, this means that those students are ineligible to receive financial assistance until they have met the standards set forth in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (please refer to this section on the web for more information). This policy states that these students must complete the following to have reinstatement of their financial aid eligibility considered:

  • file an appeal with the Financial Assistance Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee documentating the circumstances that led to the student being placed on financial aid cancellation
  • complete a minimum of six (6) credit hours at UIS at their own expense, AND
  • earn no lower than a “C” (2.00) in all classes in which they enroll if they are undergraduate students, OR earn no lower than a “B” (3.00) in all classes in which they enroll if they are graduate students. Additionally, progress must be continued to ensure that the institutional cumulative grade point average is at the minimum required level of 2.00 for undergradaute students or 3.00 for graduate students.

Please note that certain circumstances will cause a student to be placed on permanent financial aid cancellation if he/she withdraws from the University.

The bottom line is that, if at all possible, stay in school. Not only will you be able to continue your education, but you can also avoid having to pay back money. In all cases, do not withdraw without FIRST contacting the Office of Financial Assistance. Either call us at 206-6724, e-mail one of the Financial Aid Advisors, or stop by UHB 1015 to discuss your situation.