If you received financial aid, a withdrawal may affect your current financial aid, future financial aid eligibility, and personal finances.
How a withdrawal affects financial aid
Federal regulations require Title IV financial aid funds to be offered under the assumption that a student will attend the institution for the entire period in which federal assistance was awarded. When a student withdraws from courses for any reason, including medical reasons, they may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that they were originally scheduled to receive. University of Arizona students who receive federal financial aid and do not complete their classes during a semester or term could be responsible for repaying a portion of the aid they received. Students who do not begin attendance must repay all financial aid disbursed for the term.
We encourage students to read all the information below prior to making a decision to withdraw.
- Academic policies on leaving the University of Arizona are available in the General Catalog.
- The University of Arizona's tuition/fee refund policy is separate from the federal regulations to repay unearned aid. Contact the Bursar's Office for further inquiries regarding tuition/fee refunds.
- Students should review the Registrar’s Office Policy on Complete Withdrawal from the Term.
Students who receive federal financial aid must “earn” the aid they receive by staying enrolled in classes. The amount of federal financial aid assistance the student earns is on a pro-rated basis. Students who withdraw or do not complete all registered classes during the semester may be required to return some of the financial aid they were awarded based on the Return of Title IV (R2T4) Calculation. Once 60% of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of their financial aid and will not be required to return any federal funds.
The following formula is used to determine the percentage of unearned aid that has to be returned to the federal government:
- The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total calendar days in the payment period (less any scheduled breaks that are at least 5 days long)
- The payment period for most students is the entire semester. However, for students enrolled in modules (courses which are not scheduled for the entire semester or term), the payment period only includes those days for the module(s) in which the student is registered.
- The percent unearned is equal to 100 percent minus the percent earned
Institutional funds are earned and recalculated based on the pro-rated policy as described for federal financial aid funds. Tuition/fee refunds also affect the recalculation of institutional financial aid.
For financial aid purposes there are two types of withdrawals: Official and Unofficial.
- Official withdrawal - leaving the University by dropping all classes for the term.
- Unofficial withdrawal - the student receives all fail (E/F) grades or a combination of all fail (E/F) and withdraw (W) grades for the term; or the student drops/fails their last scheduled class for the term.
The withdrawal date used in the R2T4 calculation of a student’s federal financial aid is the actual date indicated on the official withdraw record. If a student stops attending classes without notifying the university, the withdrawal date will be the midpoint of the semester or the last date of academic activity determined by university.
In compliance with federal regulations, an evaluation will be done to determine if all eligible aid had been disbursed as of the withdrawal date. If not, and the student meets the federal criteria for a PWD, the student will be notified of their eligibility within 30 days of determining the student’s date of withdrawal. After being notified of PWD eligibility, students must reply if they wish to accept the post withdrawal disbursement. A PWD would first be used toward any outstanding charges before any funds are returned to you. If no response is received within approximately two weeks of notification, the award will be canceled.
When determining the withdrawal date for an unofficial withdrawal, the last date of an academic related activity might be used. Examples of University of Arizona academic-related activities include but are not limited to physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students.
- Exams, quizzes, or tutorials
- Computer-assisted instruction
- Completion of an academic assignment, paper or project
- Participating in an online discussion about academic matters
- Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course
- University of Arizona required study group where attendance is taken
- Student's self-certification of attendance that is not supported by school documentation
- Verification of Enrollment form issued by the Registrar's Office
- Living in University of Arizona housing
- Participating in the school’s meal plan
- Participating in academic counseling or advising
A notification letter outlining the amount returned to the federal and institutional program(s), along with the federal government's repayment worksheet, will be mailed to the student's permanent address. The University of Arizona will return funds on the student's behalf to the appropriate federal and institutional aid program(s) and subsequently will bill their Bursar's student account. A statement reflecting these charges will be sent to the student. The student is responsible for all charges and overpayments resulting from a Return of Title IV Calculation.
Any loan amounts that are owed to the Department of Education after the return of funds by the school, must be repaid to the loan holders according to the terms of the borrower’s promissory note.
Return of grant funds by the student
Any grant overpayment identified in Step 10 of the R2T4 calculation must be repaid by the student within 45 days of receiving notification from OSFA. If the grant overpayment cannot be paid in full, a repayment plan may be arranged with the Bursar’s Office. If a student does not repay the grant funds or make a satisfactory payment arrangement within 45 days, the account will be turned over to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) as an overpayment of federal funds.
Students who owe an overpayment of Title IV funds are ineligible for further disbursements from federal financial aid programs at any institution until the overpayment is paid in full.
Financial aid eligibility may be impacted if a student makes changes to their enrollment within a semester. One such impact is the federal requirement for us to obtain written confirmation that the student intends to attend future starting courses after having withdrawn from all current courses. An email will be sent to the student’s university email address with an online form to confirm future attendance. If we do not receive the completed form by the provided deadline, a withdrawal calculation will be performed and some, or all, of the financial aid may be reduced or canceled.
Here is an example of an enrollment change that would require us to obtain confirmation of future attendance:
- A student is enrolled in a 7W1 course and 7W2 course at the start of the semester. One week after the 7W1 course began, they withdraw from it. The student remains enrolled in the 7W2 session. The student must provide us with written confirmation that they intend to attend the 7W2 course.
A student is not considered to have withdrawn from the semester if they successfully fulfill one of the following criteria:
- Complete all requirements for graduation from their program before completing the scheduled days in the term
- Earn a passing grade in at least:
- 6 credits for undergraduates or
- 5 credits for graduates
- Earn a passing grade in at least one module or a combination of modules that equate to 49% or more of the number of days in the term
Additional information on federal withdrawal exemptions can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.