Drop and withdrawal / Return to Title IV

Drop and withdrawal/Return to Title IV Policy Details

Federal Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which assistance is awarded. Students receiving financial aid who withdraw or stop attending may be required to return a portion of financial aid received. Once notified of a total withdrawal, the institution is required to apply a federally mandated formula to determine how much of the federal funding was “earned” by the student up to the time of withdrawal. This review and recalculation is called a “Return of Title IV Aid Calculation.”  

Student financial aid and dropping or withdrawing from classes

Dropping classes or withdrawing may result in a reassessment of your university charges and/or a recalculation of your financial aid for the term. The exact consequences to you depend on a number of factors, including the type and amount of aid you have and the official date on which you drop classes or withdraw.

The consequences for each of these academic actions are different and are addressed in this policy. 


Official Withdrawals

Students can drop courses online only until the first Friday of a semester or term.

After that, in order to withdraw from courses and not have them entered on a student's official permanent record, a student must file the appropriate form with a student's college or school by 5 p.m. on the following days:

  • the fourth Friday of a semester or summer term
  • the second Friday of a seven-week session during a semester, or a six- or eight-week session during summer term
  • the first Friday of a four-week summer session
  • If a student withdraws from courses after these deadlines, they will receive a grade W on their official permanent record.

A student may continue to withdraw from courses (and receive a grade of W) until 5 p.m. on the following days:

  • the tenth Friday of a semester or summer term 
  • the fifth Friday of a seven-week session in autumn or spring semester
  • the third Friday of a four-week session in summer term
  • the fourth Friday of a six-week session in summer term
  • the sixth Friday of an eight-week session in summer term

After those dates a student may withdraw from courses only due to circumstances beyond their control. A student must file the appropriate petition with a student's college or school, and, if approved, a copy will be filed with the University Registrar who enters the grade W on their official permanent record.

If not approved, a student continues to be enrolled in the course(s) and a final grade must be submitted by the instructor(s). A student can only withdraw from any or all courses after the last day of regularly scheduled classes in cases of genuine emergency that occur after regularly scheduled classes end and prior to final exams. A student cannot withdraw from any course after the final exam has been given.  See the University Registrar site for current term dates.

Unofficial withdrawals

If a student stops attending a course, but does not officially withdraw (as outlined above), then a student's instructor will assign a grade based on the last date of academic activity that will remain on their official permanent record.

If you simply stop attending classes, rather than officially withdrawing through your college office or dropping all of your classes online, you will be subject to the same financial aid consequences addressed above. You will also be subject to the following additional consequences:

  • You will not be eligible for a fee refund on any charges.
  • You will receive EN or NEN grades (failing grade for non-attendance), negatively affecting your GPA.
  • EN or NEN grades are not always available before the end of the term; this may affect the timing of any subsequent aid disbursements which may result in an outstanding amount owed to the university.

Session withdrawals

If you withdrew from all courses and one or more of your courses were a session course, confirmation of attendance for future sessions in the term is required.

Students will receive an email request to complete an Enrollment Confirmation form to indicate to Student Financial Aid if you will or will not be attending a future session course in the term.

If not attending future sessions, the Return of Ti​tle IV process will begin. If attending a future session course in the term, a Return of Title IV calculation will not be completed. Failure to enroll in the future session will result in the Return of Title IV calculation being completed.

Hour drops - What happens when you withdraw from some but not all classes?

Financial aid awards and the cost of attendance (COA) that correspond with the financial aid awards are based on the assumption students will enroll full time during each term. Even though some students may not be enrolled full time at the start of any given term, students may  add/drop/change classes in accordance with the Registrars deadlines each term to achieve full-time enrollment.

If by the term’s census date, (typically the fourth week for autumn and spring, while summer term and sessions within autumn and spring terms will vary), a student is not enrolled full time (either having been initially, then dropping or having never been enrolled full time), adjustments will be made to financial aid received and the cost of attendance for the term. If changes are required, a student’s financial aid awards may be unavailable to view while adjustments are being made.


​​Category

​Enrollment status ​ ​

Three-quarter time​Half time​Less-than-half time
​Awards​Undergraduate: 9-11 hours

 
Grad/Prof: 6-7 hours
​Undergraduate: 6-8 hours

 
Grad/Prof: 4-5 hours
​Undergraduate: 1-5 hours

 
Grad/Prof: 1-3 hours
​University scholarships and grants​​Most awards will be reduced to $0. However, some may be adjusted for less than full-time enrollment. If an award does not remain on your statement of account after you reduce your course load, you must contact the donor for permission to retain the funds.
​Federal Pell Grant (undergraduate only)​3/4 of full-time amount, except smallest awards​1/2 of full-time amount, except smallest awards​Pro-rated based on federal guidelines
​Federal SEOG (undergraduate only)​Same as full-time amount​Same as full-time amount​$0
​OCOG (State aid)
(undergraduate only)
​3/4 of full-time amount​1/2 of full-time amount​1/4 of full-time amount
Federal ​Nursing Student Loan, Federal Work-Study​Same as full-time amount​Same as full-time amount​$0
​Health Professions Student Loan​$0​$0​$0
​Long-Term University Loan​Same as full-time amount​Same as full-time amount​Same as full-time amount
​Federal Direct Stafford Loan and PLUS​Same as full-time amount​Same as full-time amount​$0


After the Student Financial Aid census date

Most financial aid will not be adjusted for hour drops after the Student Financial Aid census date. All hours for which you are enrolled as of the fourth Saturday of the term or which you schedule thereafter, will be counted as “hours attempted” for determination of whether you are making Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid. Hours dropped after the refund period count as hours unsuccessfully completed.

Federal Work-Study recipients: You will be ineligible to work at any point in the term that you drop below half-time enrollment.

Financial impact

The overall consequences of dropping courses depend on EACH of the following:

  • the aid you have been awarded
  • the number of credits you retain
  • the point in the term you drop and the tuition refund period in effect

As a result of the adjustments to aid, you could owe additional money to the university (which would be due immediately) or have funds credited to your statement of account resulting in a refund. In some cases, you could have aid adjusted for future terms.

Questions?

If you are considering dropping a class and have any questions about the financial aid consequences, please contact Buckeye Link at 614-292-0300 or buckeyelink@osu.edu.


Withdrawal - What happens when you withdraw from all classes?

A withdrawal from all classes is an academic action that should occur only through a formal meeting with an academic advisor in your college office. Whether done through the formal process or through you dropping all of your classes online, a withdrawal from all classes can​ result in the reassessment of your university charges and the recalculation of your financial aid.

Financial impact

As with dropping a class, the specific financial consequences for you depend on several factors:

  • the amount and type of financial aid you have been awarded for the term
  • the amount of initial charges, as well as adjusted charges
  • the point in the term you withdraw (including the refund period in effect)

As a result of the adjustments to aid, you could owe additional money to the university (which would be due immediately) or have funds credited to your statement of account resulting in a refund. In some cases, you could have aid adjusted for future terms.

The following institutional policy references should help you gain an understanding of the consequences for you if you withdraw from all classes during the term.

Institutional refund policy

Please refer to the Registration and Fees and Important Dates table on the University Registrar site for the institutional refund dates. In cases of withdrawal, campus specific charges such as COTA, RPAC, ATI and Campus Safety are refunded 100 percent through the first week of classes and are not refunded thereafter. Student Health Insurance charges are refunded 100 percent through the second Friday of the school term if the student drops below eligible credit hours or withdraws from classes. For students withdrawing from the university after the second Friday of the school term, health insurance premiums will not be refunded. Residence hall charges (if applicable) are pro-rated through the eighth week based on the date the room key is returned.​

Note: This policy is only applicable when you formally withdraw via your college office or when you drop all of your courses online. If you stop attending without notification, you are not eligible for a refund.

Financial aid adjustment policy for withdrawals

The following chart describes the consequences, by type of aid, when you withdraw or stop attending ALL of your classes.

Consequences of withdrawal

​Aid source​Example aid programs​Effects of withdrawal on term aid
​Federal Title IVPell Grant, SEOG, Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS), TEACH Grant​​Though your aid is posted to your account at the start of each term, you earn the funds as the semester progresses. For withdrawals prior to the 60 percent point of the term, a calculation must be done to determine the amount of aid that must be returned to the aid programs. After the 60 percent point of the term, all aid is considered earned and you may be due a post withdrawal disbursement.
​Federal Title IV​Federal Work-Study​Once you withdraw at any point in the term, you are no longer eligible to work on a Federal Work-Study job.
​Federal Title VII and Title VIII​Nursing Student Loan, Health Professions Student Loan​For withdrawals before the Student Financial Aid census date, all funds are returned to the aid program. After the fourth Friday of the term, aid is earned by the student.
​State of Ohio​Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) and War Orphans Scholarship​Aid is refunded to the programs based on the institutional refund period (100 percent returned to the program during the 100 percent refund period, 75 percent during the 75 percent refund period, and 50 percent during the 50 percent refund period). See the refund periods in the table above.
​The Ohio State University​Most university scholarships and grants, including but not limited to, Provost, Trustee, Scarlet and Gray, Freshman Foundation and Land Grant​​For withdrawals through the SFA Census date, all funds are returned to the program. After the fourth Friday of the term, aid is retained by the student. (Some scholarships are subject to different rules.)​

Return of Title IV Funds process for federal aid

The federal government mandates that students who withdraw from all classes may keep only aid earned up to the time of withdrawal. If you have federal Title IV aid (see table above) and you fail to complete at least 60 percent of a term, Student Financial Aid must determine how much of your aid, if any, must be returned to the federal aid programs based on the percent of the term you completed. Once you complete 60 percent of the term, you are considered to have earned 100 percent of your aid. The term length is defined as the first day of classes through the last day of finals.

When a student is considered to have withdrawn, as described above, during an enrollment period in which they have begun attendance and received federal Title IV financial aid, OSU is required to determine the amount of earned and unearned Title IV aid. A student is only eligible to retain the percentage of Title IV aid disbursed that is equal to the percentage of the enrollment period that was completed by the student (calculated daily). 

The unearned Title IV aid must then be returned to the appropriate federal aid program(s) as soon as possible but no later than 45 days of the date of the determination of your withdrawal

The federal regulations determine how the order of program funds are returned. Funds returned to the federal government are used to reimburse individual federal programs. Financial aid returned (by the University and/or the student/parent) is allocated, in the following order, up to the net amount disbursed from each source:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan, Federal Subsidized Direct Loan
  2. Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) Loan or Grad PLUS Loan
  3. Federal Pell Grant
  4. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  5. Other Federal Loan or Grant Assistance

Example of a Return to Title IV Calculation


  1. The percentage of Title IV, HEA aid the student earned is determined by taking the number of calendar days completed in the period of enrollment and dividing by the total calendar days in the period of enrollment (excluding breaks of 5 days or more and days the student was on an approved leave of absence). 

    • Example: 20 completed days/100 total days = 20 percent of aid earned

  2. The dollar amount of Title IV aid the student earned is determined by multiplying the percentage of Title IV, HEA aid earned by the total of the Title IV aid disbursed plus the Title IV aid that could have been disbursed for the period of enrollment. 

    • Example: 20 percent x ($2000 disbursed + $500 that could have disbursed) = $500 aid earned 

  3. If this percentage is greater than 60 percent, the student earns 100 percent of the disbursed Title IV, HEA funds or aid that could have been disbursed.

  4. If this percentage is less than 60 percent, then the percentage earned is equal to the calculated dollar amount earned.

  5. Aid to be returned is equal to unearned percentage (100 percent minus the Percent earned) multiplied by the amount of aid disbursed toward institutional charges. If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution is required to return a portion of the funds and the student may be required to return a portion of the funds. All Title IV fund returns must be completed no later than 45 calendar days after the date of determination that the student withdrew.

  6. Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of aid earned and the order of return dictated by the U.S. Department of Education.

  7. When Title IV, HEA funds are returned, the student may owe a balance to the institution.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement:

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. 

  • Grant funds must be disbursed within 45 days. 

  • If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, they will be offered to you within 30 days.  Ohio State must obtain your permission within 14 days in order to disburse the loan funds to you. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don't incur additional debt. 

All post-withdrawal disbursements are applied to a student’s account first towards outstanding tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). Ohio State needs your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. 

If you do not give your permission, you will still be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow Ohio State to retain funds towards outstanding charges to reduce your debt at the institution

If you receive (or Ohio State or parent receive on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, Ohio State must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:​

  • your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or
  • the entire amount of excess funds.​

Ohio State must return this amount even if it didn't keep this amount of your Title IV program funds.

Financial aid withdrawal time frame​

  • A Return to Title IV calculation must be completed within 30 days.

  • Grant funds must be disbursed within 45 days.

  • Loan funds will be offered within 30 days and subject to permission within 14 days. 

  • If the R2T4 calculation results in a credit balance on the student’s account, the credit balance will be disbursed as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after the calculation of R2T4.

  • If the R2T4 calculation results in an amount to be returned that exceeds the school’s portion, OSU will return the amount to the federal programs on behalf of the student and the student must repay the funds to OSU. 

Questions?

If you are considering withdrawing and have any questions about the financial aid consequences, please contact Buckeye Link at 614-292-0300 or buckeyelink@osu.edu.