Withdrawing from your classes can have an impact on your federal and state aid. Be advised that the impacts of withdrawing from the entire semester are different than withdrawing from individual courses while still being enrolled in other courses. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with questions.
Students considering withdrawing from all their courses are advised to consult with the Financial Aid Office before doing so. They should also review the What Happens if I Withdraw from All My Classes handout. Be advised that all of the following types of withdrawals can impact the student's current and future semesters eligibility for financial aid.
If a student who has received financial aid funds withdraws, takes a leave of absence, or drops out during a semester, a portion of the financial aid may need to be repaid to the granting institution. In some situations, students may have incurred full liability for charges but only have "earned" a portion of the aid they were awarded. In such cases, the unearned portions of aid will be returned, but students will still owe the full balance to the college. Students who unofficially withdraw (i.e., stop attending classes without formally withdrawing from school) may also be subject to returning a portion of the aid they received. Students considering withdrawal should consult with staff in the Financial Aid Office prior to taking any actions.
Federal regulations mandate a Return of Title IV Funds calculation when a student receiving Title IV financial aid (e.g. Direct Loans) completely withdraws. If a student never attends, ceases enrollment, or withdraws from all courses in the semester and they received federal financial aid, the college must determine if these funds are required to be returned to the appropriate financial aid programs within forty-five (45) days.
The R2T4 calculation may result in a reduction of the student’s federal loan(s) and grant(s) if he/she attended less than 60 percent of the semester. The R2T4 calculation is based on the following:
As a result, the school and the student may be required to return any "unearned" federal aid received.
Federal Title IV financial aid is processed for a student under the assumption that the student will attend courses for the entire period for which the financial assistance is provided. A registered student who failed to earn a passing grade in at least one course is presumed to have "unofficially withdrawn" for federal Title IV financial aid eligibility purposes.
Within 30 days of the term ending, the Financial Aid Office will work with the student and his/her faculty members to ascertain official proof regarding the student’s last date of attendance (known as the withdrawal date) for the semester and perform the R2T4 calculation to determine the "unearned" federal financial aid that must be returned to the designated program(s). The student will be notified by U.S. Postal mail regarding the results of R2T4 calculation.
While there is no academic penalty associated with the ‘W’ grade, there may be Financial Aid implications regardless of the reason (e.g. medical; etc.). Any student who received federal Title IV financial aid funding (e.g. Direct Loans) will have their eligibility recalculated in order to determine:
Additionally, the calculation will be based on the earliest date documented that the student provided official notification of his/her intent to withdraw.
A student who completes all the graduation requirements for a program will not be considered withdrawn if they fail to attend future summer module(s) for which they are registered. A student who successfully completes a module (passes at least one course) that comprises 49% of the total days in the payment period will not be considered withdrawn. A student who successfully completes coursework (passes course(s) equal to or greater than the coursework required for half-time (6 credit hours) enrollment will not be considered withdrawn. Only courses that the student was enrolled in at the summer freeze file will be used in the R2T4 calculation. All others will be considered as withdrawn for Return of Title IV (R2T4) purposes.
An exception is made if the student provides written notification affirming their intent to attend a future course (prior to start of the course) within the payment period or the student provides affirmation of attendance by enrolling/registering in a future course within the same payment period after the original withdrawal date. Written notification MUST be received prior to the first day of the future course.
Notification of attendance in a future course must be made in writing by submitting the Affirmation of Future Attendance form. It is the responsibility of the student to provide complete, accurate and timely information to the Financial Aid Office, Moot Hall, 230.
A determination regarding the percentage of the semester the student completed must be performed and this will reveal the percentage of the federal Title IV aid that the student has earned. The total amount of federal aid disbursed to the student, or that could have been disbursed to the student minus the amount of federal aid earned by the student equals the amount of federal loan(s) and grant(s) that is unearned and that must be returned: (688.22(e)).
Total Title IV Disbursable Aid
- (minus) Title IV Aid Earned
= Title IV Loan(s) and Grant(s) to be Returned
If the college is required to return any unearned aid, we will reduce or cancel the federal award(s), debit the student’s account and return the unearned portion of aid to the U.S. Department of Education.
This adjustment may result in a balance due to Buffalo State College. It is the student’s responsibility to repay the "unearned" portion of aid that was charged back to the student account. Students will receive notification of this action via a U.S. Postal letter and he/she will receive an updated student bill.
A post-withdrawal disbursement of federal Title IV aid occurs when the amount of federal aid earned by the student is greater than the amount of the federal aid disbursed for the semester. Grants must be disbursed within 45 days. Loans must be offered to the student within 30 days, allowing the student at least 14 days to respond. All post-withdrawal disbursements are applied to the student account first. If the R2T4 calculation results in a credit balance on the student’s account, the credit balance must be disbursed as soon as possible and no later than 14 days after the calculation of R2T4.
A student eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement will receive written notification from the college. Students receive a notification via U.S Postal mail that they have the right to accept or decline, some, or all, of the offered post-withdrawal loan disbursement(s).
Refunds returned to the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of the student are distributed among the financial aid programs in the following order:
Students will receive official written notification indicating the type and amount of aid returned to the U.S. Department of Education.
Withdrawing from the entire semester reduces the student's pace ratio. Pace is the percentage of courses successfully completed out of all those attempted. Since a Withdrawal is considered an unsuccessful attempt, this will negatively impact a student's pace. As a result, students could be placed on Financial Aid Warning or become Ineligible for aid in the next semester. Review the Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress rules for a complete discussion.
Impact to Current Semester
When a student withdraws from some, but not all classes, eligibility for federal grants will be adjusted to reflect the new enrollment status even if the grant has already been disbursed, unless it occurs after they have incurred full tuition liability, i.e. after the fourth week. Eligibility for federal loans is not affected in the current semester as long as the student is still enrolled at least half-time when the loan funds are disbursed. If a student waits until after the semester has started to apply for aid their eligibility will be based on the enrollment status at the time of application or, if eligible for prior terms, based on the number of credits completed.
Impact to Future Semester(s)
Withdrawing from a class or the entire semester reduces the student's pace ratio. Pace is the percentage of courses successfully completed out of all those attempted. Since a Withdrawal is considered an unsuccessful attempt, this will negatively impact a student's pace. As a result, students could be placed on Financial Aid Warning or become Ineligible for aid in the next semester. Review the Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress rules for a complete discussion.
Current Semester Impact
To receive TAP a student must incur full tuition liability for a semester. This means that a student must be enrolled full-time through the fourth week of classes. Students who drop below full-time before the fifth week may have a reduced TAP award.
Impact to Future Semester
Eligibility for TAP in a subsequent semester also is contingent on how many credits were completed in the prior semester. Therefore, withdrawing from a single course or the entire semester could result in the student ineligibility for TAP the following semester. Refer to NYS Satisfactory Academic Progress for more.
Students who withdraw from classes may request that the corresponding tuition charges be removed. Such requests are reviewed by Buffalo State's Academic Appeals Committee and are only granted in cases of exceptional circumstances.
If the appeal is approved the student may have to return financial aid that they received for the semester. Appeal forms are available in the Academic Standards Office in Twin Rise 100.
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