R2T4 Policy

Withdrawal and Return of Federal Student Aid Funds Policy

How a Withdrawal Affects Financial Aid

Federal Student Aid is awarded under the assumption that a student will complete course(s) for the entire period of enrollment (trimester or session) for which the funds were awarded. Students who withdraw officially or unofficially may be subject to losing eligibility to federal, state, local and/ or institutional financial aid funds, regardless of the reason for withdrawal.

Withdrawal and Return of Federal Student Aid Funds Policy

Students that are recipients of or eligible for federal financial aid funds in a period of enrollment are subject to a Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation (also known as a Return of Title IV Funds Calculation or an R2T4,) to determine the amount of federal and state funds for which a student is eligible. 

Federal and state law requires that a portion of federal and state financial aid funds be returned to the government if students withdraw without earning any academic credit during the first 60 percent of a student’s “period of enrollment,” as measured in days. Scholarship funds and state grants also may be wholly or partially rescinded. 

Funds Subject to a Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal TEACH Grants

State Grants and Scholarship Funds Subject to Change:

  • Cal Grant
  • Institutional Scholarships
No attendance
When a student does not begin attendance in a trimester or session, the student is not eligible for any financial aid. Disbursed aid will be returned to the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of the student and the student will be liable to pay this back to the University. Offered and awarded aid that has yet to disburse will be canceled.
Partial attendance
If a student begins attendance in course(s), but fails to attend others, a portion of their aid may be cancelled or returned. Federal Pell Grants are recalculated based on attended credits until the census date. Pell recalculations are performed prior to any other calculations to determine unearned aid that must be returned.

Period of Enrollment

If the student is enrolled in both sessions, the period of enrollment is the trimester. If the student enrolled in only one session in a trimester, the period of enrollment is the session. If the student registers for both sessions and withdraws from the second session while still attending the first session, the period of enrollment will be the first session instead of the trimester. Consequently, if the student wants to complete session one but drops session two classes, it would be to the student’s benefit to drop session two classes before session two starts to avoid a return of financial aid funds calculation. Dropping some or all classes at any time may still require an adjustment to a grant or scholarship award.

Earned versus Unearned Federal Aid Funding

The percentage of aid earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal (officially or unofficially) date divided by the total number of calendar days in the trimester/period of enrollment.

  • Earned Percent = Number of Days Completed ÷ Total Days in Payment Period
  • Unearned Percent = 100% - Earned Percent

How UMass Global determines the amount of Federal Aid funds that must be returned:

As a result of a withdrawal, students who received federal funds will be required to repay unearned aid. If unearned aid must be returned, UMass Global will return the lesser of either:

  1. The tuition/fees charges incurred by the student for the payment period multiplied by the percentage of unearned aid, or
  2. The entire amount of the unearned aid.

A trimester is 16 weeks, or 112 days, in length. Consider the example of a student who was enrolled in both sessions of the trimester. If the student withdraws at the end of the third week (21 days), they would have missed 91 days of the trimester. Dividing 91 days missed by 112 days in the trimester equals 81 percent total unearned aid. UMass Global would be required to return the lesser of either the student’s tuition/fees charges multiplied by 81 percent or the entire amount of their unearned federal funds (81 percent of all aid from the trimester).

This federal return of aid policy has several financial implications for the student. In the previous example, the student withdrew after the deadline to receive a tuition and fee refund so they would be responsible to pay the entire amount of tuition for the trimester. Because 81 percent of the student’s financial aid would be returned to the government, the student would be personally liable for paying at least 81 percent of the tuition charges for the trimester. It would be in this student’s best interest not to withdraw until 60 percent of the trimester (68 days of instruction) had passed so that all financial aid could be retained to cover the tuition charges.

A student who withdraws during the first two weeks of school will receive a partial tuition refund, but this refund will not offset all the financial aid that must be returned to the government. If they are a financial aid recipient and withdraw during the first 60 percent of a period of enrollment, the student likely will owe additional money to pay for tuition charges and other expenses.

Recalculation of Aid for Non-Attended Courses

If a student does not begin attendance in a course, that course must be taken out of consideration for Federal Student Aid grants, state grants and institutional scholarship funds. The funds will be recalculated excluding that course. Students who do not plan to attend and will not be participating in a course should drop the class prior to the start of the term.

Order of Return to Federal and State Aid Programs

Federal financial aid will be returned to the accounts from which the student received assistance, up to the amount received from that account, in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loans (Graduate student and Parent of Dependent Student)
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants
  • Federal TEACH Grant

After the University allocates its portion of unearned funds, the student must return federal financial aid owed in the same order specified above for the University. The amount of federal financial aid the student is responsible for returning is calculated by subtracting the amount returned by the University from the total amount of unearned federal financial aid to be returned. 

The student (or parent, in the case of a Parent PLUS Loan) must return or repay, as appropriate, the calculated amount to any federal financial aid loan program in accordance with the terms of the loan, and any federal financial aid grant program as an overpayment of the grant. The amount of a grant overpayment due from a student is limited to the amount by which the original grant overpayment exceeds one-half of the total federal financial aid grant funds received by the student.

The University may round final repayment amounts, for which the University and student are responsible, to the nearest dollar. 

Withdrawal Procedure and Date of Withdrawal

Unofficial Withdrawal

There may be instances where a student does not officially withdraw prior to the end of the module and the student does not earn a passing grade in any course so the University will need to consider the student “unofficially withdrawn” for Federal Financial Aid (Title IV aid) purposes and process a Return of Federal Financial Aid (R2T4) Calculation.

Therefore, a student is an unofficial withdrawal if they have any combination of failing grades and “not passing” grades (aka no earned units) as seen below:

  • E.g. failing grades: F/FW/NP
  • E.g. “not passing” grades/ no earned units: SP/AU/AR/I (plus a grade) possible I grades include: (IA, IA-, IB+, IB, IB-, IC+, IC, IC-, IF, INP)

A student who completes a module but receives all incomplete grades, or a combination of course incompletes and failing grades is not considered to have successfully completed that module unless at least one course incomplete converts to a passing grade before the deadline by which the institution must otherwise perform a Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation (R2T4) for that student. Please see the section below for more information: “Reversal of Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculations Due to Grade Changes”

Official Withdrawal

An “official” withdrawal occurs when a student notifies UMass Global that they are leaving the university. The preferred means of contacting the university is through Student Services via the following methods:

  1. my.umassglobal.edu
  2. By mail: UMass Global – Student Services 65 Enterprise, Suite 150, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656.
  3. By email from your university email address to Student Services: registrar@umassglobal.edu
  4. By fax: (866) 659-1146
  5. By phone: (866) 351-0008

When communicating about your withdrawal, please provide your name and student ID number.

Determination of Withdrawal Date

The Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation begins when the student officially withdraws or UMass Global determines the student unofficially withdrew by ceasing attendance in courses. The withdrawal date used in the return calculation of a student’s federal financial aid is the date the student began the official withdrawal process and/or the date of the student’s notification that they wish to withdraw. If a student stops attending classes without notifying UMass Global, the withdrawal date will be the midpoint of the trimester or payment period.

How the student informs UMass Global about the student decision to withdraw is important. If the student states that the student is “considering” withdrawing, “might” withdraw, or “have been thinking” about it, the withdrawal will not be processed because the student is contemplating the options. The student will be withdrawn only when they state unequivocally that they want to withdraw.

Establishing an official withdrawal date is critical for determining the size of tuition refund (if the withdrawal is prior to the end of the first two weeks of school) and for determining the amount of financial aid that must be returned to federal and state government. The federal government requires that the official withdrawal date be the date Student Services is informed about the student intent to withdraw either directly by the student or indirectly through an authorized school official.

UMass Global is not permitted to accept a date in the future as the withdrawal date. For instance, if the student states during the fourth week of classes that they intend to withdraw during the twelfth week (to avoid losing some of their financial aid), UMass Global is required to use the date the student makes the announcement as the withdrawal date. Federal regulations require that the withdrawal date be the date the student states their intentions, not the date the student completes the withdrawal process.

The easiest, most effective, and preferred method to withdraw is to use my.umassglobal.edu. Your withdrawal date will be the date you electronically submit the withdrawal.

Student Services also can be advised verbally or in writing. If you email or fax Student Services, the date of your communication will be the withdrawal date, even if the communication is made outside normal business hours. If you notify Student Services through a postal service, your withdrawal date will be the date your notification is received by Student Services.

Although it is more convenient for you to withdraw using one of the preferred means of communication, you also can withdraw by phone. Such withdrawals must be made during normal business hours and by speaking directly to an official of Student Services. Since withdrawing from school may have financial and academic consequences, it is vital to establish your identity on the telephone. You should be prepared to provide considerable information including, but not limited to, your name, student identification number, date of birth, and current class schedule. Other questions will be asked, so allow sufficient time. The easiest way to withdraw is by using my.umassglobal.edu.

Applicable Return of Federal Financial Aid Deadlines

Timeframe for Returns: Federal financial aid program funds will be returned as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days after the University determined a student withdrew.        

Reversal of Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculations due to Grade Changes: There may be some instances where a student with a failing (F, FW), not passing (SP) or incomplete grade (IF, ID, etc.) has a grade changed to passing. For example, a graduate student may have an SP grade that changes to P after the end of the enrollment period. UMass Global cannot reverse a Return of Federal Financial Aid calculation based on an incomplete grade changing to a passing grade if it is past 45 days after the date of determination. The date of determination is the date the last non-passing grade was officially input or the last date of academic activity. If the grade change occurs prior to the 45-day deadline and there is enough time for the Financial Aid Office to be notified and perform the reversal of the Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation, then it is possible that the unofficial withdrawal can be reversed. It may result in a recalculation for the period of enrollment in question of the financial aid for which the student is eligible.

Conditions for a Late Disbursement (Including Post-Withdrawal Disbursements)

There are some instances where federal financial aid remains undisbursed at the time of a student’s withdrawal. The University will review the aid to determine if the student was eligible for federal aid prior to withdrawing, as there may be the possibility for the student to still receive a portion of those fund(s). Below are conditions for a late disbursement:

  • The Department of Education (ED) processed a FAFSA Submission Summary or Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) with an official Student Aid Index (SAI) for the student (except in the case of a parent PLUS loan) prior to the student withdrawing.
  • The University originated a Direct Loan (DL) prior to the student withdrawing.
  • The student completed the MPN for the respective loan(s) prior to the University completing the Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation.
  • With respect to FSEOG- the University made the award to the student for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) prior to the student withdrawing.

The University does not include as a post-withdrawal disbursement any funds the University was prohibited from disbursing on or before the date the student withdrew, which would apply to the following: 

  • Second or subsequent disbursements of Direct Loan (DL) funds unless the student has graduated or successfully completed the loan period.
  • Second disbursements of DL for the period that the University is prohibited from making until the student successfully completes one-half of the weeks of instructional time and one-half the credit hours in the academic year.
  • Disbursements of DL funds for which the borrower has not signed a promissory note.
  • Disbursements of Federal Pell Grant funds to a student for whom the University did not receive a valid FAFSA Submission Summary or a valid ISIR by the deadline date established by the Secretary in the Federal Register.
  • Federal Pell Grant funds for a subsequent payment period when the student has not successfully completed the earlier payment period for which the student has already been paid.

The Effect of a Leave of Absence

Students that attend courses in the standard trimester calendar are not eligible for a Leave of Absence (LOA). Withdrawals and unearned aid calculations cannot be affected by an LOA.

For the MyPath programs, if a student does not return from a Leave of Absence (LOA) by the end date of the LOA, the student will be considered to have withdrawn from the University as of the student’s last day of engagement in an academic related activity.  Some of the student’s financial aid award will likely have to be repaid by the student to the government and/or University.  The student’s loans may go into immediate repayment or shortly, thereafter, depending on the loan and length of the LOA. The reason why repayment could begin immediately is because grace periods on direct loans are typically 180 days from after a student ceases to be enrolled at half time status or more. For more information from Studentaid.gov on grace periods, click here.

Exceptions to Policy

Federal law requires return of financial aid funds for students who unofficially withdraw or who withdraw during the first 60 percent of a period of enrollment. The law does not allow for any exceptions.

Outstanding Balance as a Result of Return of Financial Aid Calculation

UMass Global will return necessary funds resulting from the Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation on the student's behalf to the appropriate federal programs and will subsequently bill the student for any balances owed to the University. A letter showing the result of the Federal Student Aid Calculation will be mailed to the student’s physical address once the calculation is performed. A letter showing the adjustment to the student’s Federal Student Aid funds will be emailed to the student’s University email and will be physically mailed as well. Please note that the processing time of the Return of Financial Aid Calculation by The Office of Financial Aid varies between 2-6 weeks, approximately. This means that the student may not see a balance right away. Instead, it may appear on the student’s account six weeks later, for example. Any time a student reduces their enrollment in a trimester, they should contact One Stop to get an idea of the impact this change will have on their financial aid. Students are encouraged to be prepared to return a portion of the funds that were disbursed when they do not earn any passing credit in a term and when they drop all courses prior to completing 60% of the term. The student is responsible for any outstanding balance resulting from a Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation. Students are encouraged to contact One Stop to make arrangements for payment of any outstanding and/or past due balance owed to UMass Global.

Consequences of Non-Payment of Outstanding Balance

Students who owe a balance to the University because of the Return of Federal Financial Aid Calculation are responsible to pay that balance. Possible consequences of non-repayment are having a hold on the student account, inability to register for subsequent sessions, a late payment charge, being sent to collections, etc. For more information on student financial responsibility, please click here.

Exit Counseling

Students who have borrowed federal loans or who have received a TEACH Grant must complete exit counseling when they leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. Exit Counseling is completed online: studentaid.gov. Loans must be repaid by the loan borrower as outlined in the terms of the promissory note. The student should contact their servicer if they have questions regarding their grace period or repayment status.

Student Loan Repayment

The six-month grace period for loan repayment begins the day the student enrollment status drops below half-time. If the grace period for a loan has already elapsed due to a prior period of non-enrollment, loan repayment will begin immediately. Contact the student loan servicer to make payment arrangements. The student can find their loan servicer by reviewing their loan borrowing history on studentaid.gov and the specific link for that information is here.

How a Withdrawal Affects Future Financial Aid Eligibility

Refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy in the Financial Aid Information Guide to determine how a withdrawal impacts a student’s future financial aid eligibility.

Adjustments to Institutional Scholarships:

Students who receive a 100% tuition refund will have their institutional scholarships cancelled. If the student withdraws after beginning attendance and receives a partial tuition refund, the scholarship may be prorated.

Updated: June 2024

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