Withdrawal/Repayment Policy

Financial Aid recipients are strongly encouraged to read and understand the withdrawal policy. It is important that you are aware of your financial responsibility, if your enrollment status changes. Students planning to withdraw from all classes must contact the Financial Aid Office to see how the withdrawal will affect their financial aid status, and whether repayment is due. Financial aid is paid to students based upon their attendance. However, there are occasions when unforeseen events occur in a student's life that can result in withdrawal from college. If this occurs, it is essential that you know the policy and follow the proper steps for withdrawal.

**REMINDER: If you have any active federal student loans that you have borrowed while attending any school, you could begin your grace period or be required to start repaying your loans any time that you drop below half-time enrollment.**

 

Withdrawing and Financial Aid

When a student withdraws from or stops attending all classes during a period (semester) in which they begin enrollment, there are specific regulations for students that have received Title IV, or federal, financial aid.

·       Financial aid pays after the census date (14th day) of the semester based on enrollment in classes in which instructors have confirmed attendance – aid will not pay towards eligible classes until you are actually attending and instructors have verified attendance. Prior to the census date, aid will authorize (show as pending) based on your eligible registration, or the eligible classes for which you are being billed.

·       If enrollment changes during the first 14 days of class, prior to the census date, aid will be adjusted accordingly. Students are responsible for any balance on their account created by the enrollment change. Adding or dropping classes after the census date may or may not affect your aid.

·       If a student withdraws from (drops) all classes during the 100% refund period, the appropriate charges are removed from the student’s account, and the student will not receive any aid for that payment period (semester).

·       If a student withdraws from or stops attending all classes prior to the 60% mark of the full semester, then the Office of Financial aid must calculate how much Title IV aid the student has earned, and how much has to be returned to the Department of Education. This is known as a Return of Title IV funds calculation: the federal funds used in the calculation of earned and unearned aid are listed below, and must be returned to the Department of Education in this order:

o   Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans

o   Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans

o   Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans

o   Federal Pell Grant

o   Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

o   NOTE: State and institutional aid is not returned once it has been disbursed to the student, unless it has been determined, through an administrative or medical withdrawal, that the student never had attendance during the payment period. A change in enrollment, however, can affect future enrollment for state aid or other scholarships and grants.

·       Students completing more than 60% of the period of enrollment have earned all of their financial assistance. Parts of term are considered when calculating the percentage of earned and unearned aid.

·       Any balance resulting from the Return of Title IV funds calculation must be repaid before registering for classes in a future semester, and overpayments of federal aid could affect your future Title IV aid eligibility.

 

Official Withdrawals

A student is considered an official withdrawal once they complete the withdrawal process for all course registrations before the end of a semester or period of enrollment in which they began attendance. Depending on what time it is during the semester, students can withdraw from (drop) all classes online through TigerWeb, or by completing the proper paperwork with Enrollment Services for credit hour programs, Student Services at the Technical College for clock hour programs.

·       If all classes are dropped during the 100% refund period (prior to the start of classes), no attendance is reported for the class, and the appropriate charges are removed from the student’s account.

·       If the withdrawal process is completed, either online or through Enrollment Services or Student Services (TCAT), after the 100% refund period has ended, the student is considered an official withdrawal and earns a grade of “W” for all classes in which they were enrolled – up until the last day of the semester to drop classes with a grade of “W.” An appropriate percentage of tuition and fees may be refunded to the student, depending on the refund period.

·       For students receiving federal financial aid, the Return of Title IV funds calculation is based on the withdrawal date established by the official withdrawal process. If the enrollment status change occurs before the 60% mark of the enrollment period, students may owe a balance for unearned aid that must be repaid.

·       If a medical or administrative withdrawal is granted later in the semester, the Office of Financial Aid may still need to do a Return of Title IV funds calculation, even if a student receives a 100% refund of tuition and fees. (REMOVE)

 

Unofficial Withdrawals

A student who does not complete the withdrawal process for all classes, either online, through Enrollment Services, or through Student Services (TCAT), is considered an unofficial withdrawal when it has been determined that they stopped attending or never attended all classes for which they are registered.

·       The attendance status and last date of attendance are determined by the instructor for each class. If a student is considered to have stopped attending or never attended a class, they will earn a grade of “F” for that class.

·       At the point when a student has been marked as “stopped attending” or “never attended” for all classes, the student is considered an unofficial withdrawal. The Return of Title IV funds calculation is based on the last date of attendance, entered by instructors, for the last class or classes in which the attendance status determined the student to be an unofficial withdrawal.

·       The Office of Financial Aid reviews official records at the end of each semester. If a student has stopped attending or designated as having never attended all classes, even if they have not officially withdrawn, aid will be adjusted, based on the last date of attendance, if they have not completed 60% of the enrollment period.

·       If a medical or administrative withdrawal is granted for a student that had previously been determined to be an unofficial withdrawal, then a Return of Title IV funds calculation may still need to be done, even if the student receives a 100% refund of tuition and fees. (REMOVE)

 

Administrative/Medical Withdrawals

  • Chattanooga State does not have an official Leave of Absence policy, so students must withdraw to end their attendance at the school. If a student withdraws during a semester, they are allowed to return the following semester. If a student does not enroll during an upcoming semester and notify the school that they will be returning, they must later re-apply for admission.
  • A student should contact Academic Affairs if they have extenuating circumstances – personal, family, medical, etc. – that
  • Financial aid may or may not be adjusted for an administrative or medical withdrawal, depending on whether or not the student actually attended class and earned any of their aid.

The Return of Title IV Funds Calculation

If a student has received federal financial aid during a period of enrollment and does not complete at least 60% of that period (including parts of term), then a percentage of aid that the student has earned must be determined, and a percentage of unearned aid that must be returned to the Department of Education. This is done for all types of federal financial aid except Federal Work Study (earned wages do not have to be returned). Student enrollment and accounts is reviewed no less than on a weekly basis, and the Return of Title IV funds calculation must be done as soon as the Office of Financial Aid is notified that the student is a total withdrawal for the payment period.

The Return of Title IV funds calculation determines 2 separate amounts: 

·       Institutional Required Return: this is the amount of federal financial for which the school is responsible for sending back to the Department of Education

·       Once the institutional return is calculated, the appropriate federal awards are adjusted, and the charges added to the student account

·       The funds for the institution’s portion are returned to the Department of Education within 45 days, in accordance with federal guidelines.

·       The return of funds results in a balance owed to the  school, and the student is notified within 30 days by TigerWeb message, email, or U.S. mail

·       A registration hold is placed on the student’s account until the balance is paid in full, preventing registration or schedule changes for future classes or request of a college transcript

·       If the balance is not paid in full in accordance with TBR policy, the debt is referred to collections

·       Student Required Return: this is the federal aid overpayment for which the student is responsible for repaying

·       Once the student’s return is calculated, it results as a balance owed to the Department of Education, and a financial aid hold is put on the student account – this is to prevent further awarding or disbursement of aid

·       The student is notified of the balance within 30 days by TigerWeb message, email, or U.S. mail

·       Once the student is notified of the federal aid overpayment, they have 45 days to take positive action:

1.    Pay the balance in full to the school by cash, money order, or certified/cashier’s check (no personal checks, debit cards, or credit cards)

2.    Make successful payment arrangements with the Department of Education

·       If no positive action is taken within 45 days, the debt is referred to the Department of Education as a federal overpayment, which will affect Title IV eligibility at any school until the debt is repaid or successful payment arrangements made with the Department of Education.

·       If, within the 45-day period, the student notifies the school that they cannot or will not repay the debt, it will be immediately referred to the Department of Education as a federal overpayment.

 

Examples of Return of Title IV Funds Calculations:

For a credit hour program –

A student began attendance on January 16th, at the start of the semester, and had attendance confirmed in 16 credit hours as of the census date (14th day). Since the student was enrolled full-time, the federal Pell Grant paid out at 100% at $2,960, and no other federal aid paid to the student.  The student had to officially withdraw from all classes on January 30th. For the full semester, there are 101 days (not including break days), and the student was determined to have completed 15 days, which calculates to 14.9% of the payment period completed*. The student earned 14.9% of their federal aid, totaling $441.04, meaning $2,518.96 needs to be returned to the Department of Education. The amount the school must return is calculated to be $1,972.19, and the student must return $546.77; however, if the federal grant amount that the student must return is less than 50% of the original grant, they are not responsible for repayment. So, after the institution has returned their portion, the student has earned $988 of their Pell Grant.

*If the student had not completed the official withdrawal process, the Return of Title IV Funds calculation would be the same, if the withdrawal date was determined to be the same – even if the enrollment status was not updated until later in the semester.

 

For a clock hour program –

A student begins attendance in their program on January 10th, and is required to complete 450 clock hours during that payment period for their program. Since the payment period requires at least 390 clock hours, the student is considered to be enrolled full-time, so 100% of their federal Pell Grant pays out as of the census date at $2,960. The student has to completely withdraw from the payment period on February 1st. The student is determined to have completed 81.25 clock hours (13 days at 6.25 hours per day) of the payment period, or 18.1% - therefore, they have earned 18.06% of their federal aid. The Return of Title IV Funds calculation determines that the student earned $534.44 of their Pell Grant, and $2,425.56 must be returned to the Department of Education. The school must return $1,165.45, and the student’s portion of the funds to be returned is $1,260.11 – however, the return is less than 50% of the total grant award, so the student’s revised earned aid is $1,795.

*If the student had not completed the official withdrawal process, the Return of Title IV Funds calculation would be the same, if the withdrawal date was determined to be the same – even if the enrollment status was not updated until later in the semester.

 

Repayment of Balances

Balances owed to the institution from the institutional required return can be paid online through your TigerWeb account or through the Bursar’s Office: contact the Bursar’s Office at (423) 697-4732, bursar@chattanoogastate.edu, or in person with questions about payments or payment arrangements.

·       Accounts referred to collections, write-off accounts, or charges from returned checks must be paid through the collection agency

·       Any balance owed to the school not paid in full, in accordance with TBR policy, will be referred to collections after late notices have been sent to the student.

·       A balance owed to the school will prevent you from making schedule changes, registering for future classes, or requesting a college transcript

Balances owed to the institution from the student required return can be paid through the school up until 45 days, unless payment arrangements with the Department of Education are necessary: contact the Office of Financial Aid at (423) 697-4402, finaid@chattanoogastate.edu, or in person at the Enrollment Services desk in the Student Center at the main campus with questions about federal aid over-payments.

·       If within 45 days of the date of notification of the balance owed, payment can be made through the Bursar’s Office at the school by cash, money order, or certified/cashier’s check (made out to Chattanooga State). Once the payment is received at the school, the award(s) is immediately adjusted and funds returned to the Department of Education.

·       If the 45-day period has passed and the debt referred to the Department of Education as a federal overpayment, or, at any point during the 45-day period the school is notified that the debt cannot or will not be repaid, then payment arrangements can be made through the Department of Education website at https://myeddebt.ed.gov/ or by calling (800) 621-3115

·       Post-Withdrawal Disbursement: if it is determined that, even though a student is no longer enrolled in a payment period, they have aid that could have disbursed, the student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of the aid that was earned. This could be effective, even if a student is granted 100% refund of tuition and fees due to a medical or administrative withdrawal, but the Office of Financial aid has documentation of attendance in classes.

·       If a post-withdrawal disbursement exists for a payment period in which the student was granted 100% refund of tuition and fees and removal of any attendance or grading records, the student is contacted by the Office of Financial Aid to give the student the opportunity to request a return of all federal funds – so that the disbursement is not counted in their Pell Lifetime Eligibility Usage or aggregate lifetime loan limits.

·       If the student is eligible for the post-withdrawal disbursement, the credit balance is issued to the student as a refund within 5 business days of when the credit balance was created: as a direct deposit to the student’s authorized bank account, or as a paper check mailed to the most current address on file.  

Withdrawals are reviewed on a weekly basis, so your account balance could be affected at any time if you do not attend or complete all your classes within 60% of enrollment periods for which you are registered. Once a balance is owed to the school, it can stand in the way of registering for classes or transferring to another institution. If a balance is owed to the Department of Education, it can affect your eligibility for federal financial aid in the future. It is important that you monitor your account information and campus email regularly and communicate with the Office of Financial Aid if you need to make any changes to your schedule or enrollment at Chattanooga State.