Federal financial aid (Title IV funds) is awarded to students with the expectation they will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is granted. When a student withdraws or stops attending all of their classes before completing more than 60% of the enrollment period, the student is no longer eligible for the full amount of federal financial aid which they were originally awarded. Students should carefully consider the consequences before withdrawing from all of their classes.

- If a student completes up to 60% of the semester, the percentage of financial aid earned equals the percentage of the completed period. A portion of the Title IV funds (Pell Grant, SEOG, Direct Loan, Unsubsidized Direct Loan) awarded to the student must be returned to the U.S. Department of Education.
- The calculation of the return of these funds may result in the student owing a balance to the College. It is the student’s responsibility to officially withdraw from all classes. If the student completes 60.01% or more, the student is considered to have earned 100% of their financial aid.
- Students who are no longer attending at least six credit hours at the time loan funds are scheduled to be disbursed are not eligible to receive those funds. The loan will be cancelled and all loan funds returned to the U.S. Department of Education.
- Effective for the 2021-22 academic year, students in programs of study with modules are exempted from a Return to Title IV calculation if they have completed 49.0% of their program.

- The College is required to re-prorate the amount of Title IV aid which a student in a clock-hour program, who graduates without successfully completing all of the established hours in the program receives and only pay the student for the hours successfully completed. All Title IV aid including Pell Grants and Direct Loans must be re-prorated.
- Please note that though proration of Pell Grant or Direct Loan awards normally involves consideration of the number of weeks of instruction in the program, when prorating a student’s awards in this situation, the institution does not consider the number of weeks of instructional time completed by the student.
- Re-proration is applicable for clock hour programs in this situation because Title IV aid is based, in part, upon the overall number of clock hours in a program of study. There is an expectation that a student will successfully complete all clock hours as they progress through their program of study. When a student graduates from a clock hour program without completing all of the established/reported hours in a program, the student has effectively shortened their program length. By doing so, the U. S. Department of Education considers that student as now being enrolled in a program with fewer clock hours.

There are two Return to Title IV withdrawal exemption criteria established by the U. S. Department of Education as of September 2020. Prior to conducting an R2T4 calculation for a student who has ceased attendance during a payment period or period of enrollment, the College is required to review the student’s circumstances to see if the student qualifies for any of the R2T4 withdrawal exemptions:

The withdrawal exemption categories are as follows:

- Withdrawal exemption for graduates/completers:
- A student who completes all the requirements for graduation from his or her program before completing the days or hours in the period that he or she was scheduled to complete and has withdrawn or otherwise ceased attendance is NOT considered to have withdrawn for Title IV purposes, which means that no R2T4 calculation is required for that student.
- This exemption applies to all types of programs (with or without modules).

- Withdrawal exemptions for programs offered in modules:
- A student is not considered to have withdrawn if the student successfully completes one module that includes 49 percent or more of the number of days in the payment period, excluding scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days and all days between modules.
- A student is not considered to have withdrawn if the student successfully completes a combination of modules that when combined contain 49 percent or more of the number of days in the payment period, excluding scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days and all days between modules.
- A student is not considered to have withdrawn if the student successfully completes coursework equal to or greater than the coursework required for the institution’s definition of a half-time student under § 668.2 for the payment period.

Please note that all of the withdrawal exemptions apply to students as long as the student and program meet the underlying exemption criteria (i.e. the program is offered in modules, the students are graduates, etc.). A student only needs to meet one of the withdrawal exemptions to be exempt from R2T4.

The withdrawal exemptions for successful completion of 49% or more of a module or modules and for successful completion of half-time coursework only apply to programs using modules. Per September 2020 final regulations, the U.S. Department of Education revised the definition of a program “offered in modules” for Title IV purposes to only include a program that uses a standard term or nonstandard-term academic calendar, is not a subscription-based program, and has a course or courses in the program that do not span the entire length of the payment period or period of enrollment. This means that non-term credit-hour, clock-hour and subscription-based programs are never considered to be programs offered in modules for R2T4 purposes and therefore, none of the R2T4 module requirements apply to those program types, including the modular program withdrawal exemptions.

In order to meet the modular program withdrawal exemptions a student must successfully complete a minimum percentage or amount of coursework within a module or modules. Successful completion means that the student has earned a passing grade or grades as outlined within an institution’s overall academic grading policy, which is not necessarily the same as an individual program’s grading requirements. Therefore, if an institution’s general academic grading policy has established that a “D” grade is considered a passing grade, then receipt of a “D” grade for a course would be considered successful completion of that course for the purposes of determining whether a withdrawal exemption applies. Withdrawals (Ws), incompletes (Is) and failures of any kind (earned or unearned Fs) do not count as successful completion.

Withdrawal exemption calculations are only used to determine if the student meets one of the withdrawal exemptions. If it determined that a student is not exempt, the school must put aside the figures associated with the withdrawal exemptions and instead conduct an R2T4 calculation using all the normal dates, numbers, and formulas associated with the school’s regular R2T4 process and the U. S. Department of Education’s requirements.

In order to calculate whether the student has successfully completed a module or modules containing 49% or more of the number of days within a payment period, the school will need the following information:

- Overall number of days that make up an entire payment period (typically from the beginning of the first class to the last final exam).
- Number of days associated with scheduled breaks of 5 or more consecutive days that apply to all students who enroll in the term.
- Number of days in between all modules offered during the payment period.
- This is based on breaks between all modules offered in the payment period, not what modules the student enrolls in.
- For a break to be ‘between’ modules, there must be a module before and a module after the break.
- If modules overlap, there may be no days in between modules.

- Number of days the student successfully completed within a module or combination of modules.

Federal financial aid regulations require Onondaga Community College (hereafter, the College) to determine the amount of earned and unearned federal financial aid for students who completely withdraw or stop attending all of their classes.

The withdrawal date is when the student officially begins the withdrawal process; notifies the College of their intent to withdraw; or if the student leaves without notification, the last date of attendance at a documented academically related activity; or a date determined by the College to be the last date of attendance based on documentation of circumstances beyond the student’s control that caused them to leave without notification.

The Return to Title IV calculation is conducted when a student completely withdraws, stops attending, is dismissed or takes a leave of absence prior to completing more than 60% of a payment period or semester.

- A student who attends and completes at least one course that spans the entire semester will not be considered for a Return to Title IV calculation.
- A student who withdraws or stops attending a class that only meets for part of the semester (ex. a seven-week class within a 15-week semester) must still be attending another class at the time of withdrawal, or that student would be considered withdrawn from the semester, even if registered for future classes starting later in the semester.
- A student who withdraws or stops attending a class that only meets for part of the semester and who is not attending another class at that time may provide a written statement to the college indicating their intent to attend the future class within that semester. If the student does not submit the statement or submits the statement and does not actually attend, the student is considered a withdrawal and a Return to Title IV calculation must be completed.
- A student’s federal aid must be recalculated based on the number of days the student actually attended classes. This return to Title IV calculation is not the same as the College’s tuition refund policy.

Following the determination of the last date of attendance, the College will calculate:

- The number of days attended and the total number of days the student was scheduled to complete within the semester including weekends.
- Any periods of no classes which are greater than or equal to five days in length are excluded (for example: Spring Break).
- Days attended are then divided by the days in the semester the student was scheduled to complete to calculate percentage completed.
- The percentage is multiplied by total aid for which the student is eligible to determine the amount of aid earned (% completed x total aid = earned aid).
- Total aid – earned aid = unearned aid (aid to be returned).

Next, the College will determine total institutional charges and multiply that figure by the percentage of unearned aid (100% - % completed = % unearned).

- The law assumes the Title IV aid goes first to pay the institutional charges, so it makes no difference which type of resource actually paid the school bill.
- Institutional charges x % unearned = amount returned by school.

To see if the 49% exemption has been met, the school will first subtract from the number of days that make up an overall period any scheduled breaks of 5 consecutive days or more that apply to all students who enroll in the term AND all the break days that exist between all modules within the payment period. Remember that the denominator for a given period will be the same for all students within the same program of study regardless of what modules a student enrolls in. Unlike the R2T4 calculation itself, the number of days in the withdrawal exemption denominator will not be adjusted for individual student enrollment.

- Any modules that start prior to or end after the normal standard term dates (including intersessions attached to a regular term for Title IV purposes) will NOT change the number of days counted in the overall payment period length used in the denominator in the R2T4 withdrawal exemption calculation. However, the days the student successfully completes in any module that partially falls outside the normal standard term dates (including intersessions attached to regular terms) will still count towards the numerator in the withdrawal exemption calculation when determining how many days the student successfully completed within a module.
- In addition, for students enrolled in consortium or contractual agreements, the denominator used in withdrawal exemption calculations will be the home school’s overall payment period length that the home school uses in their withdrawal exemption calculation. Of course, the number of days successfully completed in modules at the home or host school will still count in the numerator in the withdrawal exemption calculation when determining how many days the student successfully completed within a module.
- Once the number of days in the payment period is obtained, the school will divide the number of days within the modules the student has successfully completed (numerator) by the number of days in the payment period or period of enrollment after any breaks are excluded (denominator). If the resulting figure is 49% or more, the student meets the withdrawal exemption and is not considered withdrawn for R2T4 purposes.
- For purposes of performing the calculation to determine whether a student is considered a completer rather than a withdrawal because they successfully completed at least 49% of the payment period or period of enrollment, a day is included in the numerator if that day was included in at least one module or full-term course that the student successfully completed and is not part of a break of at least 5 consecutive days where no coursework was taking place. Similarly, a day is included in the denominator of that calculation if it is part of the normal term dates and is not part of a break of at least 5 consecutive days where no coursework was taking place.
- Note that even if a student is enrolled in a full-term course, the school will still subtract set break days between all modules within a payment period or period of enrollment. Full-term courses do not impact the counting of break days between modules when determining if the 49% withdrawal exemption was met.
- When calculating the 49% completion period, the school may not round the percentage up in order to reach the 49% threshold. For example, if the calculation indicated that the student had completed a module(s) comprising 48.7% of the number of days in the overall payment period, the student would NOT meet the withdrawal exemption since the school cannot round the calculation up to 49%.

The College is required to return the amount of unearned aid, up to the maximum received, to each of the Title IV programs in the following order:

- Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan
- Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan
- Direct PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

The school calculates the amount for which the student is responsible by subtracting the amount returned by the school from the total amount which is unearned. The remaining amount is the student’s share and is allocated in the same order as above. Total amount unearned – amount returned by school = $ amount the student is required to repay to the College.

Once the school determines the dollar amounts owed, the student will receive a revised award letter from the Financial Aid Office. If the return calculation results in a reduction in the student’s awards and there is a balance owed to the College, the student will receive a billing statement in the mail from the Student Accounts Office.

Questions?

Visit the Financial Aid Service Center in Student Central, email or call (315) 498-2000.