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the Office of Student Financial Services

Return of Title IV Student Aid

This requirement applies to you ONLY if:

  • You received federal student aid, and
  • You are withdrawing prior to completing 60% of the period for which the aid was provided.

Federal law requires aid recipients to "earn" most of the aid they receive by staying enrolled in college at least half time. Students who withdraw prior to completing 60 percent of the semester for which they received federal student aid may be required to return some of the aid they were awarded. The law assumes that the student used the Title IV student aid (e.g., Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Parent (PLUS) Loan or Perkins Loan) to pay their institutional charges - tuition, fees, residence hall room and board (meal plan), and other institutional charges. Thus, if the student withdraws prior to completing 60 percent of the semester for which they were awarded aid, the unearned portion of the aid must be returned to the federal government.

Purchase College will assess the liability of the student and return the appropriate funds to the federal source. If the amount returned to the federal source is not enough to cover what the student owes based on the length of the enrollment, it will become the student's obligations to pay for the remaining balance.

Amounts that must be returned to federal aid sources, whether by Purchase College or by the student, will first be applied to the federal loans. With respect to any amount the student owes after the college has paid back its share, the student will be permitted to repay the loans based on the original terms of the loans - usually a 10-year repayment term after a grace period and deferments if the student return to school. In addition, the student may be required to restore portions of grants such as Pell and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG) that they have received. In the case of "unearned" portions of federally funded grants or scholarships, the student will be expected to pay 50 percent immediately or to make satisfactory arrangements to repay that amount.

If the student is entitled to a refund from the college for amounts paid to cover institutional charges, any refund due to the student will first be applied to their obligation to return "unearned" aid before the student receives money back. Thus, portions of insitutional refunds may be applied on the student's behalf to their outstanding Stafford, PLUS or Perkins Loans, or to the federal portions of their grant or scholarship, and not refunded directly to the student.

This policy is based on 34 CFR, Section 668.22 of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

For examples of refund calculations, click on the examples below. Adobe Acrobat is required to access these .pdf files.