Return to Title IV Policy for Financial Aid
Even though financial aid is paid to a student’s account at the start of each semester, the student earns the financial aid as the student completes the payment period. If a student withdraws during his or her period of enrollment, the amount of Title IV financial aid the student has earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. The following explains the treatment of Title IV financial aid when a student withdraws from classes.
MCCC Institutional Refund Policy
Students who withdraw from all classes during the term, depending upon when the withdrawal occurs, may be refunded all or a portion of their tuition and fee charges. Monroe County Community College publishes the dates for the 100% tuition refund period and 50% tuition refund period for each semester of the academic year on the MCCC website:
Additionally, Policy 3.05 (Tuition and Fees Policy) provides students with a detailed explanation of the standardized policy established by the College for refunds of tuition and fees. All MCCC policies and procedures are available on the MCCC website:
Please note that MCCC’s institutional refund policy is a separate policy from the regulations that the Financial Aid Office must abide by when determining the amount of Title IV financial aid a student has earned. Students receiving financial aid are strongly advised to consult with the Financial Aid Office prior to dropping classes.
MCCC’s tuition and fee refund policy is separate from the process MCCC’s Financial Aid Office must follow for determining a student’s financial aid eligibility when a student “officially” or “unofficially” withdraws from classes. The law specifies how MCCC must treat the amount of Title IV program assistance that a student earns if the student withdraws from school. When a student withdraws from classes, if the student is a financial aid recipient, Monroe County Community College, as well as the student, may be required to return to the federal government all or a portion of the financial aid that had been disbursed and/or applied to the student’s account.
An “official” withdrawal is when a student formally drops all classes for a given term. This is generally done by the student using myWebPal or submitting a signed withdrawal form to the Registrar’s Office. An “unofficial” withdrawal is when a student is enrolled in at least one class, for a given term, which they do not formally drop (as indicated in the previous two sentences) and the student does not successfully complete any of the classes in which they are enrolled for that term with a grade of “A, B, C, D, H, or P”. When a student unofficially withdraws from classes, the Financial Aid Office will follow-up with the student’s instructor for each class to determine the last date in which the student participated in each class.
If the student withdraws from school, “officially” or “unofficially,” before the term is completed and the student was the recipient of Title IV financial aid funding, Federal Return to Title IV Regulations require the Financial Aid Office to calculate both the amount of earned and unearned aid for the period of withdrawal. If the student received more assistance than they “earned” by only attending a portion of the term, the excess funds must be returned by the college and/or the student to the federal government.
The federal formula requires a return of Title IV financial aid if the student received Federal financial aid assistance in the form of a Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Stafford Direct Loans or Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, and the student withdrew before completing more than 60% of the enrollment period. To determine the amount of aid the student has earned up to the time of withdrawal, divide the number of calendar days the student attended classes by the number of calendar days in the enrollment period. Scheduled breaks of 5 days or more are excluded. The percentage derived is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed (applied to the student’s account and/or refunded) or that could have been disbursed for the enrollment period. This calculation determines the amount of aid earned by the student which they may keep. The unearned amount (total aid disbursed or that could have been disbursed less the earned amount) must be returned to the federal government by MCCC or the student. The unearned aid must be returned in the following order:
Unsubsidized Stafford Direct Loan
Subsidized Stafford Direct Loan
Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students
Iraq and Afghanistan Grant
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Other Federal assistance
If a student did not initially receive all of the funds he or she earned, the student may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the student’s post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, the school must get the student’s permission before the funds can be disbursed. The student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that the student doesn’t incur additional debt. MCCC may automatically use all or a portion of the student’s post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds to pay outstanding tuition and fees charges. MCCC needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for any other charges.
Additionally, there are some Title IV funds that a student may have been scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed once the student withdraws, due to other eligibility requirements. For example, if a student is a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and has not completed the first 30 days of the program before withdrawing, the student is not eligible to receive any Direct Loan funds at that point.
Once a determination of earned and unearned Title IV financial aid funding has been made, the Financial Aid Office will notify withdrawn students of their eligibility.
- Loan funds disbursed in excess of eligibility are repayable/due based on the terms and conditions outlined in the promissory note. Most Direct Loan borrowers will enter repayment 6 months after withdrawal, unless they re-enroll on a half-time basis before the end of the 6-month grace period.
If for some reason outside of the student’s control, the student is unable to remain enrolled and in attendance, the student should seek the advice of the Financial Aid Office BEFORE withdrawing or stopping attendance in class to find out how this will affect their financial aid package.
In accordance with R2T4 regulations, MCCC processes the R2T4 calculations within 30 days of the student’s last date of attendance for students who officially withdraw, and within 30 days of identifying students who unofficially withdraw from the payment period. MCCC is required to return the unearned portion of the student’s Title IV aid to the Federal government within 45 days of identifying that the student officially or unofficially withdrew from MCCC.
MCCC must comply with Federal regulations governing the Return to Title IV (Federal) Aid Policy with regard to students who enrolled in “modular” classes during a specific payment period (e.g. – Fall, Winter, or Summer). The U.S. Department of Education’s definition of modules is “a course or courses in the program that do not span the entire length of the payment period or period of enrollment” (34 CFF 668.22(1)). New regulations regarding R2T4 for modular coursework are effective July 1, 2021, however, the U.S Department of Education allows for early implementation of these regulations. MCCC has opted for early implementation of the new R2T4 regulations, with an effective date of May 10, 2021.
All of MCCC degree and certificate programs are standard term programs. Students in standard term programs are considered withdrawn if they are not scheduled to begin another course within the payment period for more than 45 calendar days after the end of the module the student ceased attending, unless the student is on an approved leave of absence. Such a calculation can only be avoided if the student is enrolled in a class within the same payment period, which begins no later than 45 calendar days after the end of the module the student ceased attending, and the student provides written notification to the Financial Aid Office of their intention to remain enrolled in that class and to attend that class.
Withdrawal Exemptions for All Programs:
A student who completes all the requirements for graduation from his or her program before completing the days or hours in the payment period that he or she was scheduled to complete is not considered to have withdrawn. This applies to all programs (with or without modules).
Withdrawal Exemptions for Modules:
For students enrolled in modular classes, there are withdrawal exemptions that must be reviewed to determine if an R2T4 calculation is required. The withdrawal exemptions are as follows:
A student is not considered withdrawn if the student successfully completes:
- All requirements for graduation from their program before completing the days or hours in the period that the student was scheduled to complete.
- One module that includes 49% (no rounding allowed) 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. (Note: The 49% is based on the number of days in the overall payment period, not 49% of the modules the student was enrolled in for a particular payment period. Successful completion means earning a passing grade.)
- A combination of modules that includes 49% (no rounding allowed) 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. (Note: The 49% is based on the number of days in the overall payment period, not 49% of the modules the student was enrolled in for a particular payment period. Successful completion means earning a passing grade.)
- Successful completion of coursework equal to or greater than the coursework required for the school’s definition of a half-time student, which is 6 credit hours at MCCC. (Note: Successful completion means earning a passing grade.)
The requirements for a withdrawal exemption (49%, ½ time completion, etc.) are used solely to determine if a student is considered withdrawn for R2T4 purposes. If a student does not meet the withdrawal exemptions and is considered withdrawn, all normal R2T4 requirements apply:
- Completion beyond 60% point
- Post-withdrawal disbursements
- Disbursed and could have been disbursed Title IV funds, etc.
If a student does not meet the new withdrawal exemptions, but completes all coursework scheduled to attend (even if only one module), no R2T4 is required since student was only scheduled to attend those modules/days.
Scheduled Days in Modules
For programs measured in credit hours, a student in a program offered in modules is scheduled to complete the days in a module if the student’s coursework in that module was used to determine the amount of the student’s eligibility for Title IV funds for the payment period.
A school includes the days in a module in the denominator of the R2T4 calculation if:
- The student attended at least one day in the module; or
- The student did not attend at least one day in the module, but the module was included in the institution’s determination of the student’s Title IV eligibility
MCCC does not use an R2T4 freeze date. MCCC monitors the student’s enrollment status throughout the period (no R2T4 Freeze Date) and as fluctuations occur the number of days in the denominator in the R2T4 calculation may change.
The Financial Aid Office uses the Colleague system to process all Return of Title IV calculations. Note: MCCC is not required to take attendance by an outside agency.
Determining the date of withdrawal:
- Official Withdrawals: The Financial Aid Office uses the withdrawal date from the official signed withdrawal form that the student submitted to the Registrar’s Office, or the date the student dropped classes on myWebPAL. In the event that the student withdrew from courses on different dates, the latest course withdrawal date is used in the R2T4 calculation.
- Unofficial Withdrawals: Faculty members are required to enter a last day of attendance/participation when giving a letter grade of E, F, and U. When the Financial Aid Office identifies students who have unofficially withdrawn, the last of day of attendance as reported by the faculty is used in the R2T4 calculation. In the event that the student unofficially withdrew from courses on different dates, the latest course withdrawal date as reported by the faculty is used in the R2T4 calculation.
In accordance with R2T4 regulations, MCCC processes the R2T4 calculations in Colleague within 30 days of the student’s last date of attendance for students who officially withdrew, and within 30 days of identifying students who unofficially withdrew from the payment period. In accordance with R2T4 regulations, MCCC returns unearned aid for which the College is responsible within 45 days to the appropriate federal aid program(s).
- For students who failed to attend classes beyond the 60% period, MCCC is required to issue a refund of the unearned federal financial aid to the appropriate Title IV program(s).
- For students who attended the semester beyond the 60% period and fully earned their federal financial aid, MCCC is not required to issue a refund to the federal government.
The Financial Aid Office notifies students who completed 60% or less of the semester that their financial aid has been reduced due to the R2T4 calculation by sending the student a letter (which explains what an R2T4 calculation is and why it was processed), as well as an updated account statement. The account statement shows the student their charges for the semester, as well as the financial aid payments/adjustments that have been made. If the R2T4 created an outstanding balance that the student owes MCCC, that balance is reflected on the account statement that the student receives.
In accordance with R2T4 regulations, MCCC notifies/offers the student of any Post-withdrawal disbursement of grant and/or loan funds within 30 days of MCCC’s determination that the student withdrew. MCCC notifies the student via a letter that is sent through U.S. postal service. MCCC will automatically make a Post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds to pay outstanding tuition and fee charges and notifies the student of the activity. However, the student must actively accept a Post-withdrawal offer for loan funds (or grant funds that would be used to pay any charges other than tuition and fees) in order for MCCC to make the Post-withdrawal disbursement.