Withdrawals and Refunds
Current federal regulations require the Return of Title IV Funds Policy to be used for all students who receive any type of federal aid when calculating the aid a student can retain after withdrawing. This policy relates to Federal Pell, SEOG, and TEACH Grants as well as all federal loans.
These regulations govern the return of aid disbursed for a student who completely withdraws from a term or payment period. During the first 60% of the payment period, a student “earns” aid in direct proportion to the length of time he or she remains enrolled. The percentage of time that the student remains enrolled determines the percentage of disbursable aid for that period. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 61% point of the payment period earns all aid for the period.
Students who plan to withdraw must start with Academic Advising to submit written notification of withdrawal from a course or the program. Institutional charges and financial aid are adjusted once the withdrawal date is determined. For students receiving financial aid, the refund must first be repaid to the Title IV programs in accordance with existing regulations in effect on the date of withdrawal and with respect to various types of aid. It is possible that the student who withdraws may still have an outstanding balance due to the University. The withdrawal date is determined as follows:
- Official withdrawals: the later date of when the student began the institution’s withdrawal process OR officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw.
- Unofficial withdrawals: If the student has to leave without notification because of circumstances beyond the student’s control, the institution will use the documented last date of participation in an academic activity.
The percentage of the period that the student remained enrolled is calculated based on number of countable days the student was enrolled. This calculation is determined by dividing the number of days enrolled by the total days in the enrollment period. Calendar days are used, including weekends.
Distribution of Unearned Aid
If a student has not earned all of the federal aid received to date at the point of withdrawal, funds are repaid in the following order:
- Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan
- Federal Grad PLUS Loan
- Federal Parent PLUS Loan
- Federal PELL Grant
- Federal SEOG Grant
- Federal Teach Grant
Unearned aid must be returned as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after determining the student has withdrawn.
45-Day Allowable Break in Enrollment
The Department of Education has defined Baker’s SPGS and GSOE programs as programs offered in modules. The University does not have to consider students as withdrawn or put them on an approved Leave of Absence (LOA) if the following occurs:
- Student will begin a module within 45 calendar days from the end of the current module that starts later in the same payment period.
- Student provides written confirmation with a signature that he or she will begin a module within 45 calendar days in the same payment period.
If above process is completed timely, days out of class will not count against the allowable LOA days. For example, a student starts a course and has a family emergency, requiring the student to drop the current course. If the student will be back in class within 45 days of the last day of the current class in the same payment period, the student just needs to complete a form stating intent to return within 45 days of the end of the current course. If the student’s plans change, the student can submit an updated notification.
If payment period or loan period has been completed, the student can request a Leave of Absence.
- Total LOA days cannot exceed 90 days in a 12-month period.
- If student does not complete either process timely, the Office of Financial Aid will need to complete a return of federal funds calculation, even if the student is not withdrawn from the University.
Leave of Absence
Students experiencing serious medical or family problems can request a leave of absence, not to exceed 90 days per 12-month period. This request must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid.
It is possible for more than one leave to be granted, as long as the total days of all leaves of absence do not exceed more than 90 days per 12-month period. The request for leave must be in writing before the leave is granted. In emergency situations, the institution may accept the student’s written request after the leave has begun. Students participating in the federal loan programs do not have to go into repayment on their loans during the approved Leave of Absence period. However, if the student does not return from the Leave of Absence, the last day of attendance prior to the beginning of the Leave of Absence is the date used when notifying the lender of when the student ceased attending classes. Students requesting a Leave of Absence must make their request in writing. This letter must bear the student’s signature and should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.
A student that is determined to have received less Title IV aid than earned will be offered a post-withdrawal disbursement for the amount of earned aid that was not received. Any post-withdrawal disbursement made must meet required conditions for late disbursement.
Disbursement of Title IV Grant Funds
Post-withdrawal grant disbursements will be credited to a student’s account for outstanding allowable current semester charges or refunded to the student if their balance is zero. The school is permitted to credit any Title IV grant funds to the student’s account without the student’s permission. The school will post any credit applying to current charges to the student’s account. If the student has no current allowable charges, the disbursement must be made no later than 45 days of the school’s determination the student withdrew.
Disbursement of Title IV Loan Funds
Post-withdrawal loan disbursements will be credited to a student’s account for outstanding allowable current semester charges or paid directly to the student or parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan. Prior to making any disbursement, the student/parent must be notified in writing within 30 days of the school’s determination the student withdrew. The letter must identify the type and amount of the funds. If loan funds are available, the school must explain the student/parent has the option to accept/decline all or part of the loan. The letter must also inform the student/parent a response must be received within 14 days of the date of notice. If the school does not receive a response, no further disbursement is made. If the request is denied due to a late response, the school will send the student/parent notification.
Credit Balance Due to Return of Funds Calculation
The school must determine the correct Title IV credit balance, considering the results from both the Return to Title IV calculation and the institutional refund calculation. If after the Return to Title IV funds and the institutional refund calculations are applied to the student’s account and a credit balance results, the credit balance will be disbursed as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after the date of the Return to Title IV calculation is performed.
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
This process is separate from the academic Satisfactory Academic Progress. Federal regulations require institutions to monitor both quantitative and qualitative progress towards a degree.
- Quantitative – student must be able to complete the degree program within 150% of the reported program length. In addition, the student must successfully complete 67% of the attempted hours in each payment period.
- All transfer hours accepted by Baker University are considered when reviewing attempted hours.
- All hours earned when not receiving financial aid count.
- Undergraduate students who earn grades of F, I, W, WP, WF, NC, or AU will have the courses counted as attempted hours, but not completed hours.
- Graduate students who earn grades of D, F, I, W, WP, WF, NC, or AU will have the courses counted as attempted hours, but not completed hours.
- Repeating a course counts as attempted credit hours each time the course is repeated.
- Qualitative – student must maintain the minimum cumulative GPA for their specific program.
- Minimum GPA for undergraduate students is 2.0.
- Minimum GPA for graduate students is determined by degree, see Graduation Requirements section.
Student’s academic progress must be reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid after each payment period. Federal regulations allow an institution that monitors SAP every payment period to place a student on “Warning” for one more payment period if the student can reach minimum SAP standards by the end of the next payment period. The student can receive Title IV aid during this “Warning” payment period.
If a student is not maintaining SAP after the “Warning” payment period has ended, the student loses Title IV eligibility. Students who are placed on Financial Aid Suspension will receive written notification from the Financial Aid Office of their status. Such students will be offered the opportunity to appeal the Financial Aid Advisory Committee for reinstatement of Title IV aid.
- Appeals can be made in some circumstances, such as medical problems, illness, death of a family member, relocation, or employment changes.
- Appeal must be in writing.
- Student must explain why he/she failed to make SAP, and what has changed to allow the student to make SAP by the end of the next payment period.
- Appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Advisory Committee. The student is informed of the decision within one week. Decision notifications are sent to the student’s Baker email.
If appeal is approved, the student has one more payment period of Title IV aid eligibility. If the student is not successful in meeting SAP standards, the student will no longer be eligible for Title IV aid of any kind, including grants and loans.
In order to regain Title IV eligibility the student must meet minimum SAP standards. The student may appeal for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility after completing a payment period and meeting GPA minimum standards. Such students might be filing two petitions, one to the Office of the Registrar and a separate one to Financial Aid. The two petitions will not be evaluated by the same committee. It is possible for a student to be on financial aid suspension and still be allowed to enroll at the University at the student’s expense.