Graduate Catalog

University Financial Aid Refunds to Institutional and Title IV Programs

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term. The federal Title IV financial aid program funds must be recalculated in these situations.

If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of the semester, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds and institutional funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:

Percentage of Payment Period Or Term Completed

The percentage of payment period or term completed is the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to Be Returned

Aid to be returned is:

  • 100% of the aid that could be disbursed
  • minus the percentage of earned aid
  • multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

An example:

  • A student withdraws after 44 days.
  • This number is divided by the total days in the semester: 44/110 = 40%.
  • This student has "earned" 40% of his/her financial aid.
  • If the student has received $6000 in grants, scholarships and/or loans, 40%, or $2,400 is earned, and the remaining $3,600 must be returned.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal.

Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student may owe a debit balance to the institution.

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal/LOA.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans (other than PLUS loans)
  • Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants for which a Return of funds is required
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants for which a Return of funds is required
  • Other assistance under this Title for which a Return of funds is required (e.g., LEAP)


  • Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation - A required calculation to determine the amount of aid earned by the student when the student does not attend all days scheduled to complete within a payment period or term (Student is considered to be a withdrawal, whether any credits were completed or not.)
  • Overaward [not the same as Return to Title IV calculation] - A required recalculation of Pell Grant and other aid types due to student dropping or not attending credits required for the status awarded (full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, less than half-time); required at any point information received that changes student status. Reductions in aid will always be required for students whose status changes due to dropped classes or classes not attended beyond the course census date.

Return of Title IV Funds For Programs Offered In Modules

  • A Module is defined as a course or group of courses in a program that does not span the entire length of the payment period (semester), i.e. 8 week online sessions or summer sessions.
  • Gallaudet University, Financial Aid Office will track enrollment in each module to determine if a student began enrollment in all registered courses. If a student officially drops courses in a later module while still attending a current module, the student is not considered as withdrawn based on not attending the later module. However, a recalculation of aid based on a change in enrollment status may still be required.
  • If a student in modular classes provides written confirmation to a school at the time of ceasing attendance that the student plans to attend another course later in the semester, the student is not considered to have withdrawn if the next schedule class the student is to attend begins within 45 days of the last class the student attended.

Unofficial Withdrawals

All financial aid is awarded to students with the expectation that they will attend classes for the entire semester or award period. Students who cease attending classes but who do not officially withdraw (identified by failing grades for all attempted credits) will be considered as having "unofficially withdrawn", and will be subject to financial aid cancellation according to the date attendance ceased as provided by faculty (or, at a 50% unearned rate if attendance information is not available.). This means, regardless of charges for the period, a student who has ceased attending classes will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn and will have a percentage of his/her financial aid cancelled (based on attendance data), and may be subject to repayment of any financial aid disbursed. If any loans have been disbursed, repayment requirements may take effect as of the unofficial withdrawal date.

Students who cease attending classes and are considered as unofficial withdrawals will NOT BE ELIGIBLE for financial aid for the subsequent semester; and/or until future semester courses have been completed and satisfactory academic progress standards are met. A copy of the Academic Standards for Financial Aid is available on the Financial Aid website.

Students should be aware that they need to file an official withdrawal with the Office of the Registrar if they cannot, or choose not, to attend classes throughout the semester. Undergraduate students who unofficially withdraw and wish to be reinstated must apply for readmission through the Registrar's Office. Graduate students who unofficially withdraw and wish to be reinstated must apply for readmission through the Graduate Admissions Office.

PLEASE NOTE: a withdrawal from all or any of your courses could result in a negative effect on your Satisfactory Academic Progress. Please view the section on Standards of Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid located on this page.