The Department of Education requires that institutions that award federal financial aid such as loans and/or grants have a policy that outlines what happens when a student withdraws or otherwise fails to complete a term for which financial aid was awarded or paid out to the account.
So what does that mean for you- the student? Essentially if you end up withdrawing from a given term/ semester there are some things you need to be aware of.
If you withdraw you need to fill out a Voluntary Withdrawal Petition and turn it into the Student Service Center so the Financial Aid Office is aware of your last date of attendance. After that we calculate the percentage of student aid earned and what was “unearned” in the semester. If you completed MORE than 60% of the semester then you would be eligible to keep 100% the financial aid awarded. But let’s say you completed 58% or 14% or 37% then you may be required to pay all or a portion of the financial aid back that you received in that semester. Make sense? Good.
Now you may be asking “well Financial Aid Office, how DO you calculate the total amount of earned aid?” Well that is a great question and let me give you a breakdown. Basically we take the number of days completed and divide that by the total number of calendar days in the semester. If this percentage ends up being less than 60% then we calculate the amount of unearned funds and what would need to be returned to the federal government, if anything. Funds are returned in the following order:
- Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Perkin’s Loan
- Federal Direct PLUS loan (parent)
- Federal Direct PLUS loan (grad)
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG
Still with me? Well here’s an example to help explain it.
Let’s say Mady is enrolled in the chemical engineering program but decides she wants to leave Wentworth to go study The Theory of Doctor Who at another school. She fills out the withdrawal petition and takes it to the Student Service Center for processing. After the calculations the Financial Aid Office has determined that she has attended 52 of the 98 days- or speaking in percentages 53%. That’s below the 60% mark which means they will need to figure out how much of the funding she received has to be returned. This term Mady received a Pell grant for $1,000 and a Subsidized Stafford Loan for $3,500. We take the TOTAL amount of Title IV aid disbursed $4,500 and multiply that by the 53% which gives us the earned and unearned aid.
Let’s present this in a more math friendly way- shall we?
$4,500 total aid X 53% competition= Earned Aid of $2,385 and Unearned Aid of $2,115.
Now there are several steps even AFTER all these calculations but those would be done on a case by case basis. Essentially it means figuring out what the school has to return, what the student has to return, and if there is any remaining balance how the student intends on paying that to the school. We go through the same process with institutional aid so these policies also apply to your Wentworth Grants and your Merit Scholarships and all that jazz.
You may also encounter procedures for post withdrawal disbursements which basically means that we will notify you if you are eligible for a disbursement of financial aid AFTER your official withdrawal from the school.
If you are intending in withdrawing from the university you MUST submit the Voluntary Withdrawal Petition to the school in order to officially withdrawal.
While we don’t wish to see any of our students leave we definitely understand the reasons as to why students go. It’s always encourage to discuss your particular case with your academic advisor, billing counselor and financial aid counselor before you move forward with it. Any questions you can reach out to our office and we can assist!
See you next time!