Return of Title IV Funds Policy
Federal law requires schools to calculate how much federal financial aid a student has earned if that student:
- completely withdraws, or
- stops attending before completing the semester, or
- does not complete all modules (courses which are not scheduled for the entire semester) for which he/she has registered at the time those modules began.
Based on this calculation, Sandburg students who receive federal financial aid and do not complete their classes during a semester could be responsible to repay a portion of the aid they received.
Federal financial aid covered under this regulation includes the Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct loans, and Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans. State grant and scholarship programs are not covered under this regulation but follow the College's institutional refund policy.
How is the financial aid that is earned by the student calculated?
Students who receive federal financial aid must "earn" the aid they receive by staying enrolled in and attending their classes. The amount of federal financial aid assistance the student earns is determined on a pro-rated basis. Students who withdraw or do not complete all registered classes during the semester may be required to return some of the financial aid they were awarded.
For example, if the student completes 30 percent of the payment period, the student earns 30 percent of the aid he/she originally was scheduled to receive. This means that 70 percent of the student's scheduled awards remain unearned and must be returned to the federal government. Once the student has completed more than 60 percent of the payment period, the student will earn all of his/her federal financial aid.
The following formula is used to determine the percent of unearned aid that has to be returned to the federal government:
The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total calendar days in the payment period (less any scheduled breaks that are at least 5 days long).
The payment period for most students is the entire semester. However, for students enrolled in modules (courses which are not scheduled for the entire semester), the payment period only includes those days for the module(s) in which the student is registered.
The percent unearned is equal to 100 percent minus the percent earned.
What is the withdrawal date?
The withdrawal date used in the return calculation of a student's federal financial aid is the actual date the official drop form is processed by the Records Office. If a student stops attending classes without notifying the College, the withdrawal date will be the midpoint of the semester or the last date of recorded attendance in class.
Who returns the unearned federal funds?
The College and the student are both responsible for returning unearned federal financial aid to the federal government. Amounts that must be returned will be applied in the following order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. The College must return the lesser of 1) the total amount of unearned aid or 2) institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage. The student must return any remaining unearned aid not sent back by the College.
The student also will be billed for any amount due the College resulting from the return of federal aid funds that were used to cover tuition and fees. For example, if the College is required to pay back to the government federal funds used to pay a portion of a student's tuition for the semester, the student then must pay the College for that unpaid portion of their tuition.
How do students repay the unearned funds?
The Sandburg will notify students if they owe federal funds back to the government. Amounts that must be returned by the student will first be applied to federal loans. The student will be permitted to repay loans based on the terms of the Master Promissory Note, which usually consists of scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time. Any grant amounts the student has to return to the federal government must be repaid within 45 days after the student receives notification. If the grant overpayment cannot be paid in full, a satisfactory repayment plan may be arranged with the U.S. Department of Education.
If the student owes any money to the College resulting from the return of federal funds used to cover tuition and fees, the student will be billed by the College.
What happens if students don't repay?
If a student does not repay the grant funds that are owed to the government within the 45 days, the account will be turned over to the U.S. Department of Education as an overpayment of federal funds. Students who owe an overpayment of Title IV funds are ineligible for further disbursements from the federal financial aid programs at any institution until the overpayment is paid in full or payment arrangements are made with the U.S. Department of Education.
If a student does not pay funds due to the College to cover a tuition and fees balance that resulted after the College returned their unearned portion of the federal funds, the student's records will be placed on financial hold. This means the student will not be permitted to register for classes (or, in some cases, remain enrolled) or receive transcripts until his/her balance is paid in full.
What if the student is eligible for additional funds?
The Sandburg Financial Aid Office will notify students if additional federal funds can be disbursed. This is called a "post-withdrawal disbursement." Federal grants will automatically be applied towards the student's account within 45 days of determining that the student withdrew. Federal Direct Loans must be accepted within 14 days of the notice; otherwise the loan funds will be canceled. If the Federal Direct Loan post-withdrawal disbursement offer is accepted by the deadline, Sandburg will make the disbursement within 180 days of determining that the student withdrew.