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Home > Financial Aid Process > Leaving UB > Return of Title IV Funds due to Discontinuance of Study

Return of Title IV Funds due to Discontinuance of Study

Federal regulations require that UB use a Return of Title IV Funds calculation in cases where a student receiving Title IV financial aid (Pell, Perkins, SEOG, and Direct Loans) discontinues study during a given semester. If you discontinue study (drop, resign or withdraw from all courses in the semester) and have previously been awarded these funds, the university must determine if these funds are required to be returned to the appropriate financial aid programs.

Additionally, if a student who began attendance and has not officially withdrawn fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course taken over an entire term, UB must assume the student has unofficially withdrawn for Title IV aid purposes, unless the student provides acceptable documentation from the instructor or department confirming that the student completed the term.

The university is required to complete the calculation within 30 days of discontinuance of study. The policy statement below is for your information and reference; please call the Financial Aid Office at 716-645-8232 with questions regarding the effect and changes of your financial aid award if you are discontinuing study at UB.

The date the student drops, resigns, withdraws or discontinues studies as determined by the University at Buffalo.

For a student who fails to earn at least one passing grade within a fall or spring term, UB will use the 50% point as the student’s unofficial withdrawal date.

The federally mandated process by which a school calculates the amount of federal funds to be returned for a Title IV aid recipient who 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. The Return of Title IV calculation is based on the following:

  • The number of days the student attended.
  • The institution charges assessed.
  • The total amount of Title IV aid awarded, accepted and or disbursed.

Furthermore, the school, and the student may be required to return any “unearned” federal assistance.

Federal financial aid regulations require that any student who fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course in the semester shall be considered as having “unofficially withdrawn.”

At the end of each semester, UB will review the academic transcripts of federal financial aid recipients to identify students who have no passing grades as a result of “non-attendance” or “unofficial withdrawal.” The Return of Title IV calculation will be performed (after the semester has ended and grades are available) using the midpoint of the semester as the unofficial withdrawal date. Based on these calculations, the school will be required to return any “unearned” federal assistance, resulting in a debit or increase to the student account. Students will be notified by email to his or her UB email address of the Pending Unofficial Withdrawal review. Instructions to appeal the review are included in the email.

While there is no academic penalty associated with the ‘W’ grade, there may be financial aid implications. Any student who received federal Title IV financial aid funding (e.g. Pell Grant, Direct Loans, Perkins Loan, etc.) will have their eligibility recalculated in order to determine:

  • the amount of financial aid the student is eligible to retain
  • the amount of “unearned financial aid” that must be returned to the U.S. Department of Education

In addition, the calculation will based on the student’s actual “separation date” and not necessarily the date the student dropped or resigned all of their courses.

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 (i.e. disbursable aid) 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
– (minus) 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 an email 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 Direct Loan or Perkins Loan, it must be repaid under the terms of the appropriate promissory note being completed or previously completed. In addition, any disbursement received from Title IV funds will reduce award eligibility for the corresponding award(s) at UB, or another college attended during the same award year. Any opportunity to keep loan debt at a minimum should be considered.

Refunds returned to the US Department of Education on behalf of the student are distributed among the financial aid programs in the following order:

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  2. Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
  3. Federal Perkins Loans
  4. Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan (Undergraduate Students)
  5. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan (Graduate/Professional Students)
  6. Federal PELL Grant
  7. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  8. Federal Teacher Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
  9. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG)

Students will receive email notification to his or her UB email address indicating the type and amount of aid returned to the U.S. Department of Education.

Important: If the unearned Institutional costs are lower than the unearned financial aid, then the student must return the difference. If the amount(s) to be returned by the student is a loan, no immediate action is required and the loan servicer will contact the student regarding repayment in accordance to the terms and conditions outlined in the promissory note. If the school is required to return any unearned aid, the University at Buffalo will reduce or cancel the 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 the University at Buffalo. The student becomes responsible for the “unearned” portion of aid that was charged back to the student account. Students will receive notification of this action via letter from UB in addition to an updated statement of account. This is a federal statutory and regulatory requirement and enforced accordingly. Furthermore, if the student account remains unpaid, the University sends delinquent accounts to a collection agency. Unpaid bills that reach this stage may negatively affect your credit rating, and may be subject to additional fees or service charges under section 18 of the state finance law.

Eligibility will be recalculated for students who withdraw from all courses within a session, regardless of earning a passing grade in a prior session.

Eligibility is determined by considering the number of days completed out of the anticipated days of enrollment over the entire term.

If a student withdraws entirely from one session, but intends to attend courses in a later session, the student must provide a statement of intent to return during the summer session. The student will remain eligible for financial aid provided he/she completes the courses included in the statement. Students failing to complete the later session(s) will be subject to an eligibility recalculation.

Information is subject to change without notice due to changes in federal, state and/or institutional rules and regulations. Students must complete a FAFSA every year. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress to continue to receive financial aid.