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Return of Title IV Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

Harper College students who are financial assistance recipients must be aware of the Return to Title IV Funds policy.  This policy defines when a student is impacted by the Return to Title IV federal aid and how the required aid amount returned to the U.S. Department of Education is calculated.

Students subject to a review for Return to Title IV are those who received federal financial assistance and withdraw from all their classes on or before completing 60 percent of the payment period and/or receive all F grades in their classes due to non-attendance. 

Federal financial assistance includes a Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct Loan, and/or a Federal PLUS Loan.  A federally mandated Return to Title IV funds formula determines if the student or the school is required to return some of the federal funds awarded to the student to the Student Financial Aid (SFA) programs, or if the student is eligible for a refund of a portion of the institutional charges paid to Harper College such as tuition and fees.     

The official date of withdrawal is the withdrawal date as recorded by the Registrar’s Office and is based on the date that appears on the Student Add/Drop form as filed with that office. When a student withdraws, the Office of Student Financial Assistance applies the Return to Title IV funds calculator in the Banner Student Information System to determine how much aid the student earned before the official withdrawal date and the unearned amount of Title IV Funds that must be returned.  The percentage of aid to be returned is based on the number of calendar days remaining in the payment period divided by the number of calendar days in the payment period, less any scheduled breaks of four or more consecutive days.

Any Title IV funds that were disbursed for the payment period that are in excess of the amount calculated to be earned are considered unearned and must be returned to the federal government.  The unearned amount is the student’s responsibility to pay and this may result in an outstanding balance owed to Harper College or to the U.S. Department of Education.  If the student has earned more funds than were not yet disbursed, the student may receive funds based on the formula calculations.

As an example, if a student completes 30 percent of the payment period, they earn 30 percent of the financial assistance originally scheduled to receive.  Once a student completes 60 percent of the payment period, the student earns all of the assistance they were scheduled to receive for that period.

Harper College processes Title IV returns within the timelines per federal regulations. The Office of Student Financial Assistance will notify students of any amounts owed or to be paid with instructions. Students with outstanding balances may be restricted from registering for future classes and receiving transcripts.

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual programs.  Title IV federal financial aid returned must be allocated in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Federal Direct PLUS Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
  6. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Repeated withdrawals can impact a student’s eligibility to receive federal financial aid for future terms.  (see Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy)

Last Updated: 11/6/19