skip to content

Financial Aid

Withdrawals and R2T4

Federal regulations determine how Federal Student Aid (title IV) funds are handled when a recipient of those funds withdraws entirely from the University prior to the end of a payment period or period of enrollment. If you withdraw completely before a semester or term has ended, a calculation must be made to determine what portion of your federal aid must be returned. Any student that withdraws prior to 60% of the semester having been completed can expect to have some repayment of funds due.

The policy "focuses on the return of Title IV funds received for the time period during which the student was enrolled." It also refers to "earned" and "unearned" institutional charges and Title IV funds, excluding Federal Work Study. The University, the student or both may be required to send funds back to the federal government based on funds that were unearned, based on the date of withdrawal. In effect, a student is awarded aid for a semester or term and should that student not complete that period due to withdrawal from all courses, some of that aid was not earned.

In coordination with federal regulations, the financial aid office will perform the calculation within 30 days of your withdrawal and funds will be returned to the appropriate federal aid program within 45 days of your withdrawal. An evaluation will be done to determine if aid was eligible to be disbursed but had not disbursed as of your withdrawal date.

Federal Title IV funds affected include all Federal Direct Loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Supplemental Grants. The repayment priority is as follows:

  1. Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  2. Direct Subsidized Loan
  3. Federal Perkins Loan
  4. Direct PLUS Loan
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Federal Supplemental Grant
  7. Other Federal Aid Programs

State funds are not considered Federal Title IV Funds, but there is a state requirement for determining and returning state funds as well. (See Return of State Aid policy below.)

Refund Formula

To determine the percentage of unearned aid, the new policy uses the number of DAYS enrolled in the award period, rather than weeks. The formula to determine what amount of unearned Title IV aid to be returned is:

Percent of term NOT attended
X (times)
Amount of Title IV aid

= Unearned Title IV aid


Percent of term NOT attended
X (times)
Institutional Charges

= Unearned Charges (or whichever is smallest)

To determine the percent of the term not completed, the number of days the student did attend is divided by the number of days in the enrollment period and this number is subtracted from 100%.


Enrollment period is 110 days long. Student attended 22 days and withdrew 22/110 = 20% (time enrolled) 100% - 20% = 80% (% of term not completed) Title IV aid disbursed to student was $1000.00 Student institutional costs were $900.00

80% (.80) X Title IV aid disbursed = Amount of unearned aid (.8 X $1000) = $800.

To determine the actual amount of aid that has to be returned, the amount of unearned aid is compared to the amount of unearned costs, using the same formula. Thus, while the unearned aid in this example was $800, the amount of unearned cost is only $720 (.8 X $900).

The amount to be returned by the school is the lesser of these dollar amounts. The student is then liable for the difference between the two amounts. ($800 - $720 = $80).

Return of State Grant Policy

As was noted previously, state funds are not considered Federal Title IV funds. However, the return of State aid will be calculated using a modified federal policy adopted by the State of Wisconsin - Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB).

We will use the formula and attribution used by the federal policy to determine the amount of state aid to return. The funds will be attributed as follows:

Wisconsin Higher Education Grant
Tuition Assistance Grant
Wisconsin Covenant
Wisconsin Indian Grant
Talent Incentive Grant
Lawton Grant
Advanced Opportunity Grant
Institutional Scholarships
Private Scholarships

State aid programs will have priority for any credit balance remaining from an Institutional Refund after the federal funds are satisfied.

If there is an Institutional refund issued after a student withdraws, and there is a balance remaining after the federal funds are subtracted, the state grant funds will be next in line to receive a refund. The amount of the refund will correspond to the federal formula of earned and unearned funds.

Withdrawal Date

Regulations define the withdrawal date as the date:

  • The student begins the withdrawal process prescribed by the school, OR...
  • The student provided the school with official notification of the intent to withdraw, OR...
  • The midpoint of the payment period in which the student received Title IV aid or the last date of an academically related activity that the student participated in, for a student who does not begin the process or provide notification.

Unofficial Withdrawal

Unofficial withdrawals are defined as students who begin a semester but cease attending classes at some point during the term without officially withdrawing from the University. Professors are instructed to give students who stopped attending their classes before the end of the term a 'WF' for the course. Students who receive all WF's will be considered withdrawn from the University and may owe unearned financial aid back to the Title IV programs.

Within 30 days of the end of the semester, we will determine the date a student withdrew from the University and calculate the amount of aid, if any, that needs to be returned to the Title IV programs. In order to make this determination, we will request information from the faculty regarding the last day the student took part in any “academically related activity.” Should the last day of activity be undetermined (for example, unable to reach the appropriate faculty), the 50% point of the semester will be used to calculate the return.

Per Department of Education guidance, academically related activity includes:

  • Physical class attendance where there is direct interaction between instructor and student
  • Submission of an academic assignment
  • Examination, interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction
  • Participation in a study group
  • Participation in an online discussion about academic matters
  • Initiation of contact with instructor to ask question about academic subject.