A student who did not earn at least one passing grade during a semester for which federal aid was disbursed must have a calculation performed to determine how much of the federal aid was earned. Unearned federal aid must be returned to the source, in most cases through a charge/charges to the student's Tulane student accounts receivable account. A student who did not begin attendance during a semester for which federal aid was disbursed will have any and all disbursed federal aid returned to the source.
Federal regulations require that schools use a Return of Title IV Funds calculation for cases in which a student receiving Title IV financial aid (Pell, ACG Grant, SMART Grant, Perkins, SEOG, Direct Loans) discontinues study during a given semester. When a student discontinues study (drops or withdraws from all courses in the semester) and has previously been awarded these funds, the university must determine if these funds are required to be returned to the appropriate financial aid programs.
The university is required to perform the calculation within forty-five (45) days of determination of the discontinuance of study. The policy statement below is for your information and reference; please call the Tulane University Financial Aid Office (504-865-5723) with questions regarding the effect and changes of your financial aid award if you are discontinuing study at Tulane.
The "withdrawal date" is the date the student withdraws, as determined by the school. "Return of Title IV Funds" is the federally mandated process by which a school calculates the amount of federal funds to be returned for a Title IV federal financial aid recipient who begins attendance and subsequently withdraws or who ceases attendance during a semester. The calculations may result in a reduction of the student's Title IV loan and grant aid to reflect the percentage of the semester that the student attended, if he or she attended 60 percent or less of the semester. Based on these calculations, the school, and the student may be required to return any "unearned" federal assistance. The amount is demonstrated in the example below.
Federal financial aid regulations require that any student who began attendance but failed to earn a passing grade in at least one course in the semester and who did not officially withdraw shall be considered as having unofficially withdrawn.
Within 30 days of the final date of final exams of each semester, Tulane University Financial Aid will receive notification of students who have no passing grades after review of academic transcripts, will identify federal financial aid recipients who have no passing grades, and will deem those students to have unofficially withdrawn (unless a record of official withdrawal is on record at the time of review), with a withdrawal date at the midpoint of the semester. Students are identified based on having received either all F grades, all W grades, all UW grades, all U grades, all I grades or a combination of these types of grades. Based on those grades, the semester's Federal Title IV financial aid will be recalculated to determine what portion of that aid was "earned" by the student. Federal Title IV financial aid consists of Pell, Perkins, SEOG, Academic Competitiveness Grant, National SMART Grant and Direct Loans.
The Return of Title IV calculation will be performed (after the semester has ended and grades are available) for students determined to have unofficially withdrawn, using the midpoint of the semester as the withdrawal date. Based on these calculations, the school will be required to return any "unearned" federal assistance within 45 days after determining the student earned no passing grade, resulting in a charge to the student account.
Students will be notified via letter of this calculation. If a student feels this determination is incorrect, he/she must contact the Tulane University Financial Office immediately if he/she has information that could lead to a determination that:
Although Tulane is not allowed to use information provided directly by a student to prove academic attendance through the end of a semester, such information may allow Tulane to contact instructor/s to seek proof of attendance. Students should assume instructors will not have proof of attendance and continue to follow up with the Tulane University Financial Aid Office for final determination.
The calculated percentage of the semester completed becomes the percentage of the Title IV aid that the student has earned. The total Title IV aid disbursed to the student, or that could have been disbursed to the student minus the amount of Title IV aid earned by the student yields the amount of Title IV loan and grant aid that is unearned and that must be returned: (688.22(e)).
Total Title IV Disbursable Aid - Title IV Aid Earned = Title IV Loan and Grant to be Returned
A post-withdrawal disbursement of Federal Title IV aid occurs when the amount of Title IV aid earned by the student is greater than the amount of the Title IV aid disbursed for the semester. A student eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement will receive written notification from the university. Students have the right to accept or decline, some, or all, of the post-withdrawal disbursement that is being offered. Students are given 14 days from the date of the notification to respond. Students are encouraged to seriously consider whether it is beneficial to accept a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the Title IV disbursement is the result of a federal loan, it must be repaid under the terms of the appropriate promissory note being completed or previously completed. Also, any disbursement received from Title IV funds will reduce award eligibility for the corresponding award(s) at Tulane, or another college attended during the same award year. Any opportunity to keep loan debt at a minimum should be considered.
Refunds on behalf of Student Financial Aid recipients must be distributed among the Title IV financial aid programs in the following order:
The following example may help you better understand the return to Title IV programs policy:
- Days in semester: 108 days
- Days attended (days before withdrawal date): 24 days
- Percentage of semester completed: 22.2% (if this had been greater than 60%, no further calculations would be required and no aid would be returned)
The University must return the lower of either the unearned financial aid or the unearned institutional costs. This action will result in the student account being debited (increasing the balance due the University). A communication will be sent to the student in addition to an updated student account statement. In this case, $8,558.00 would have to be returned and would show as an amount increasing the balance due the University.
If the unearned institutional costs are lower than the unearned financial aid, then the borrower must return the difference (in this case, $194.50). However, if the amount to be returned by the borrower is a loan (and not a grant), no action has to be taken by the borrower immediately, and will be contacted by the loan servicer at the appropriate time regarding repayment. Any grant (for example, Pell and/or SEOG amounts) due from the student will be returned to the Department of Education by the University. In doing this, the student account will be charged for the amounts due to the Department of Education. Students will receive notification of this action via an updated Accounts Receivable billing statement.
If a student officially withdraws, Tulane uses the date the withdrawal was initiated to determine the date of withdrawal. If a student earns a passing grade in at least one course offered over an entire period, Tulane may make the presumption that the student completed the course and, thus, completed the period. However, if a student who began attendance and has not officially withdrawn fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course offered over an entire period, Tulane must assume, for Title IV federal financial aid purposes, that the student has unofficially withdrawn within 30 days after the end of the semester and set the student's withdrawal date as either the last date of attendance at an academically-related activity or the midpoint of the period. Tulane will use the midpoint of the period unless documentation of the student's attendance at an academically-related activity is provided by the instructor or registrar's office to the Office of Financial Aid within 30 days of the end of the semester during which no passing grade was earned.
A student must officially withdraw from the university to obtain a refund of tuition. Failure to attend does not constitute an official withdrawal. The U.S. Department of Education requires that schools are able to document that students are actually in attendance to finalize their Federal Pell Grant eligibility:"If a student doesn't begin attendance in all of his or her classes, the school must recalculate the student's award based on the lower enrollment status. A student is considered to have begun attendance in all of his or her classes if the student attends at least one day of class for each course in which that student's enrollment status was determined for Federal Pell Grant eligibility." To obtain a remission of tuition, the student must complete drop/add form(s) with the dean of the college in which he/she is enrolled.
Tulane's refund policy for a typical semester (68-70 class days) is based on the following schedule.
Please consult the academic calendar for specific dates. Percentages above do not apply to the summer term. Fees are not refundable.
Tuition refunds due to withdrawal are not directly related to the determination of whether financial aid funds must be returned when a student withdraws. When a recipient of federal financial aid funds withdraws from the university during a period of enrollment (i.e. semester) in which the recipient began attendance, the institution must determine the amount of federal loan or grant assistance that the student earned as of the student's withdrawal date.
The percentage of aid that has been earned by the student is equal to the percentage of the semester that the student completed as of the student's withdrawal date. If this date occurs after the completion of 60% of the semester, the student is considered to have earned 100% of the federal grant and/or loan assistance for the semester. Please note that in cases where a student ceases attendance without providing official notification to the university of his or her withdrawal from the university, the institution must consider the midpoint of the semester as the official date of withdrawal. The student must contact his or her academic Dean's Office to provide official notification of intent to withdraw.
If the total amount of federal grant or loan assistance, or both, that the student earned is less than the amount of federal grant or loan assistance that was disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student in the case of a PLUS loan, the difference between these amounts must be returned to the federal aid programs within 45 days of the date the financial aid office was made aware of the withdrawal. The amounts of unearned federal aid must be returned regardless of whether the student is eligible to receive a refund of a portion of university fees, such as tuition, fees, or room and board fees. The amount to be returned to the federal student financial aid accounts will be returned to the programs from which the student received aid up to the amount of aid disbursed in the following priority order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, Federal Direct Subsidized loans, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal PLUS loans received on behalf of the student, Federal Pell Grants, ACG and Smart Grants, Federal SEOG grants, and LEAP grants.
The total amount of federal grant and loan assistance received by the student must be certified by the school. If the total amount of federal grant or loan assistance, or both, is greater than the total amount of federal grant and/or loan assistance that was disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student as of the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew, the difference between these amounts must be treated as a post-withdrawal disbursement. If federal loan funds are used to credit a post-withdrawal disbursement, the university must provide the student, or the parent in the case of a PLUS loan, the opportunity to cancel all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement. The university has 30 days to provide this notice to the student or parent. The student or parent must respond to the notice within 14 days of the date the institution sent the notification.If the student or parent does not respond, the university cannot make a post-withdrawal disbursement of federal loan funds.
After determining the return of funds to federal student financial aid, any amounts of institutional tuition or room and board refunds in excess of the amount of aid returned to the federal aid accounts will be returned to the Tulane aid accounts on a pro-rated basis up to the amount of aid disbursed. Any remaining amounts of institutional refund left over are then returned to the student and his/her family.
Federal Work-Study funds are not included in the Return of Federal Title IV Funds formula because these funds were received for work performed.
Students considering a full withdrawal should consult with a financial aid counselor to discuss the impact of withdrawal on financial aid funding.