Return of Funds Policy

Students receiving federal student aid should be aware that U.S. Department of Education regulations govern the refund and repayment of federal student aid when a student withdraws before completion of the semester for which federal student aid has been received.

Federal student aid eligibility is based on the percentage of time the student is enrolled for the semester. Depending on the date the student withdraws, the student’s aid will be adjusted according to the Federal Return of Title IV formula, state grant refund calculation, and institutional policy. Tuition may be adjusted, and the student may owe money to the University if the student withdraws.

Return of Federal Student Aid (Title IV)

Federal Regulations require the University to calculate a return of federal student aid funds for students who withdraw (officially or unofficially) from all classes on or before the 60 percent attendance point in the semester and for students who withdraw from any module-based courses.

If the student officially withdraws, the determination date is the date the University of Pennsylvania determines the student began the withdrawal process. If the student does not provide official notification of his/her intent to withdraw, the determination date will be determined by the University of Pennsylvania Administration. For official withdrawal, the University of Pennsylvania uses the date the student provided official notification to withdraw as the withdrawal date; for unofficial withdrawals, the last date of academically related activity as given by a professor may be used as the withdrawal date.

The calculation required determines a student’s earned and unearned Title IV aid based on the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the student. The percentage of the academic period (e.g. semester) that the student remained enrolled is derived by dividing the number of days the student attended by the number of days in the academic period. Academic period is counted in Calendar days (including weekends); however, breaks of at least five days are excluded from both the numerator and denominator.

Until a student has passed the 60 percent point of an enrollment period, only a portion of the student’s aid has been earned. If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution. If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to them, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student’s withdrawal.

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student’s withdrawal. The unearned portion of federal student aid funds will be returned to the appropriate aid program(s). The funds are returned in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  • Subsidized Direct Loan
  • Direct Grad PLUS Loan
  • Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Pell Grant
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • TEACH Grant

Students withdrawing from classes are responsible for paying any balance due after the required return of federal student aid funds.

Earned aid is not related in any way to institutional charges. In addition, the University’s refund policy and return of Title IV funds procedures are independent of one another. A student who withdraws from a course may be required to return unearned aid and may still owe the University for that course.

Students who stop attending all classes without officially withdrawing will be subject to a return of federal student aid funds at the end of the semester based on the last documented date of attendance as determined by the University of Pennsylvania.

The responsibility to repay unearned Title IV aid is shared by the University and the student. For example, the calculation may require the University of Pennsylvania to return a portion of federal student aid funds to the federal Title IV programs. In addition, the student may also be required to return funds based on the federal calculation. A student returns funds to the Federal Direct Loan program based on the terms and conditions of the promissory note of the loan. A student who receives federal grants may be required to repay 50 percent of the funds received.