Return of Title IV Funds
Federal regulations require that students who withdraw from all classes may only keep the federal financial aid (i.e., Title IV funds) they have "earned" up to the time of withdrawal. These regulations apply when a student officially or unofficially withdraws. Official withdrawals include medical withdrawals and any student who has been administratively withdrawn or expelled.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from any Brandeis University refund policy.
Official Withdrawal Procedures
Voluntary Withdrawal from the University
A student wishing to withdraw from the university may do so at any time up to and inclusive of the last day of instruction. Withdrawals requested after the last day of instruction must be approved by the Committee on Academic Standing. When a student withdraws during or at the end of a semester course, enrollments are not expunged from his/her record; rather, a grade of "W" ("dropped") is entered for each course. From students who withdraw in good standing, the Committee on Academic Standing will consider applications for readmission after one full semester of absence from the campus. Other students may apply for readmission after one calendar year has elapsed. Courses taken at other institutions while on withdrawal from the university are not eligible for transfer toward the Brandeis degree. A Title IV recipient who is voluntarily withdrawn will need an R2T4 performed to determine his or her aid earned.
Leave of Absence
Any degree-seeking student who has been in residence for two semesters, and who has a complete and satisfactory record from the preceding semester, is eligible for a leave of absence. A leave of absence is granted for one or two semesters and may be extended once only. Normally, leaves are arranged in advance through the Office of Academic Services.
On an exceptional basis, personal leave may be granted for a semester in progress, in which case permission must be secured from the Office of Academic Services no later than the 20th day of instruction.
Students are required to submit a written petition to the Executive Council of the Committee on Academic Standing (through the Office of Academic Services) requesting to return. Requests must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the first day of instruction of the term in which they wish to register.
Credit will not be granted for academic work taken at other institutions during a leave of absence.
A Title IV recipient who is granted a leave of absence will be withdrawn and will need an R2T4 performed to determine his or her aid earned.
Leave of Absence for Health Reasons
A student may petition to take a Health Leave of Absence (HLOA) for personal health or family health reasons. Petitions and supporting documentation are submitted to the Office of Academic Services. During a leave of absence for health reasons, students may take two courses (eight credits) per semester for a maximum of four courses (16 credits) and receive numeric course credit. Coursework taken over the maximum may be approved for use towards general University requirements and requirements for the major or minor. Courses must be approved by the Office of the University Registrar prior to enrollment. Course credits may count toward the 128 credits needed for graduation as defined in the academic residency requirement.
Students requesting to return from an HLOA must first seek approval from the Health Leave of Absence Committee, and then petition the Committee on Academic Standing for their approval. Both processes are managed through the Office of Academic Services. The HLOA Committee will evaluate the documentation submitted by a student's health care provider, and determine whether the health condition in question has been adequately alleviated for return to rigorous study. The Committee on Academic Standing will then review the student's overall academic record, their academic progress for the semester in which the student withdrew, and their readiness to successfully make academic progress toward graduation.
A Title IV recipient who is granted a leave of absence for health reasons will be withdrawn and will need an R2T4 performed to determine his or her aid earned.
If a student receives more than one D, E, U, F or NC in a single semester or if a student has had multiple semesters with unsatisfactory grades, the student may be required to withdraw from the university because of a lack of academic progress.
A student may be required to withdraw from the university even if the student has not been on advising alert or probation in a prior semester. The university may require a student to withdraw at any time, should the university determine that the student's academic performance is so profoundly deficient as to suggest an inability to meet academic requirements. Students are informed in writing of any change in academic status.
Students in special admission programs who earn unsatisfactory grades in courses associated with those programs may be required to leave the University.
The academic standing of students who earn unsatisfactory grades will be reviewed at the end of each semester by the Committee on Academic Standing according to the above stated definitions. Letter grades covered by "pass" ("P" for performance at the C- level or above) will not be used in computing grade point averages but will be considered by COAS when determining academic standing.
A student with two or more unsatisfactory grades who are placed on probation will have their parent(s) and/or guardian(s) notified. Parents/guardians may also be notified when a student changes their status at the university either by voluntarily withdrawing or by being required to withdraw by COAS. The student's academic advisor will also be notified of a student's academic standing.
A student with an unsatisfactory record who either voluntarily withdraws from the university or who is required to withdraw from the university may petition to return to the university. COAS will consider petitions for readmission. The student is expected to spend a minimum of one year away from the university.
Primary considerations in making readmission decisions are evidence of sustained and productive activity during the period of absence from the campus, evidence of serious academic purpose and pertinent letters of recommendation attesting to the candidate's readiness to resume formal study.
Courses taken for academic credit while on voluntary or involuntary withdrawal from the university are not eligible for transfer toward the Brandeis degree. Petitions for readmission for a fall semester must be received no later than May 1 and petitions for readmission for a spring semester must be received no later than Nov. 1.
A Title IV recipient who is involuntarily withdrawn will need an R2T4 performed to determine his or her aid earned.
A student who wishes to withdraw voluntarily from the Graduate School during a semester must do so by completing the change of status form and having it approved by the program chair and the School on or before the last day of instruction in the term. Failure to notify the university in writing of a withdrawal may subject the student to loss of eligibility for refunds in accordance with the refund schedule outlined in the "Fees and Expenses" section. Permission to withdraw voluntarily will not be granted if the student has not discharged all financial obligations to the university or has not made financial arrangements satisfactory to the bursar.
Students who are obliged to register and fail to do so by the appropriate deadline or who fail to pay their bill will be administratively withdrawn. They may be readmitted (see below) for study in a subsequent term, but not for the term in which they were withdrawn for failure to register. Belatedly fulfilling financial obligations will not negate the effects of administrative withdrawal.
A Title IV recipient who is involuntarily withdrawn will need an R2T4 performed to determine aid earned.
Leave of Absence
Students may petition for a leave of absence using the form available on the GSAS website in the "Students" section. The petition must have the approval of the chair of the program and the Graduate School. Leaves of absence up to one year will normally be granted to students in good academic standing who present compelling personal reasons. Returns from leave may be subject to conditions established at the inception of the leave as indicated on the leave of absence petition form. A student who has been granted a leave of absence is not considered an active student during the leave. Time spent on authorized leaves of absence will not be counted toward the maximum time permitted to complete degree requirements.
Should a student need to go on leave for medical reasons, he or she can petition for a medical leave of absence by completing the appropriate form and submitting the required note from a healthcare/psychological service provider. Medical leaves of absence are typically granted for up to one year and students must follow the required steps to return from medical leave one month prior to the start of the semester they are expected back at the Graduate School. These steps will be outlined in a letter to the student upon approval of going on medical leave.
If, for any reason, a student must extend a leave of absence, he or she must request such an extension in writing before the leave of absence expires. Failure to do so will result in involuntary withdrawal from the Graduate School. Students who extend their leaves of absence beyond one year may lose departmental funding. Should a student wish to return, the student will be considered for funding as part of the department's entering cohort of students.
A Title IV recipient who is granted a leave of absence will be withdrawn and will need an R2T4 performed to determine aid earned.
Programs may review academic records at the end of each semester if a student is not making suitable academic progress. In these cases, academic probation or withdrawal may result. A Title IV recipient who is involuntarily withdrawn will need an R2T4 performed to determine aid earned.
A student's withdrawal date is defined as the date that the student began the withdrawal process with Brandeis; the student otherwise provided Brandeis with official notification of the intent to withdraw; or, for the student who did not begin our withdrawal process or notify us of the intent to withdraw, the midpoint of the payment period of enrollment for which Title IV assistance was disbursed (unless we can document a later date).
Brandeis has additional latitude to determine the withdrawal date of a student who dropped out without notifying the university due to circumstances beyond the student's control, such as illness, accident or grievous personal loss.
The Effect of Withdrawal on Title IV Aid
When a student withdraws during a period in which he or she is receiving federal financial aid, the amount of Title IV funds (which include Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, Teach Grants, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, SEOG and Federal Perkins Loans) that must be returned to the Title IV programs is based solely on the length of time the student was enrolled prior to withdrawing. The amount of funds earned by the student is directly proportional to time enrolled, through 60 percent of the period of enrollment. After 60 percent, the student is considered to have earned all federal aid. Unearned federal Title IV aid must be returned to the programs. However, effective July 1, 2021 a student who withdraws from a program offered in modules is not considered to have withdrawn for R2T4 purposes if the student completes:
- One module that includes 49% or more of the number of days in the payment period; or
- A combination of modules that when combined contain 49% or more of the number of days in the payment period
Scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days and all days between modules are excluded from the number of days in the payment period used to calculate whether the module(s) completed by the student comprise 49% of the payment period
Brandeis bears the responsibility of returning funds up to the lesser of the unearned amount or an amount determined by multiplying institutional costs by the unearned percentage. The student must return any unearned amount that is not the responsibility of the university to return.
Effective July 1, 2021 unearned funds are returned first to Unsubsidized and then Subsidized Stafford Loans and then to PLUS Loans. Once loans are satisfied, remaining unearned funds are distributed to Pell Grant, then to FSEOG, TEACH Grant, and then to other Title IV funds that require a refund. (Federal Work-Study funds earned prior to withdrawal can be kept by the student.)
The student repays unearned funds owed to a loan program under the terms of the promissory note. Repayments to grant programs are made according to grant overpayment regulations. If a student received aid from other (private, state) sources, refunds to them will be made in accordance with the policy of the donor(s).
The refund remaining after any funds are returned to federal and outside programs will be divided between the student and University financial aid programs in the same ratio as these sources were credited to the student's account (for example, if a student paid one-half of the bill, one-half of the remaining refund will be returned to the student and one-half will be returned to the University financial aid programs from which the student received assistance).
For students whose financial aid awards exceed the University's charges (for example, students who live off campus), funds that were disbursed to support educationally related expenses (for example, room, board, books, etc.) must be repaid on a prorated basis determined by the University.
In circumstances where the Return to Title IV refund calculation requires that the University return unearned funds to the federal government, the student may owe a balance to the University. The Return to Title IV Funds calculation is independent of the institution’s refund policy.
Pell Recalculation Policy and R2T4
Brandeis University uses a census date (also known as the "freeze date") Pell Recalculation Policy for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. This means the student’s enrollment status to determine Pell eligibility “freezes” on the census date. The only way the enrollment status can increase after that is for the student to attend a later starting class and attend it though that class’ census date. In short, Pell enrollment status is determined and “freezes” on the full term census date and, after that, only on a subsequent short term class census date.
If a student withdraws prior to the full term census date, the enrollment status for Pell eligibility and the R2T4 calculation will be the student’s enrollment status on the date of withdrawal.
If the student withdraws after the full term census date, the enrollment status for Pell eligibility and the R2T4 calculation will be the student’s enrollment status at the last census date attended.
If a student does not receive all of the funds that he or she earned, he/she may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If his or her post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, the University must get the student’s permission before it can disburse them. The student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so as not to incur additional debt. The University may automatically use all or a portion of the student’s post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). The University needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give permission, the student will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce debt at the school.
- The University needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant or loan disbursement for all other school charges. If permission is not given, the student will be offered the funds.
- However, it may be in his or her best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce debt at the school.
Calculation of Title IV Assistance Earned by the Student
For students for whom a Return to Title IV Funds calculation is required, the percentage of Title IV assistance earned is equal to the percentage of the payment period completed (total number of calendar days divided by the number of days attended) as of the withdrawal date.
If the withdrawal date occurs after the 60 percent point, then the percentage of Title IV assistance earned is 100 percent.
This percentage is then applied to the total amount of Title IV grant and loan assistance that was disbursed (and that could have been disbursed) to the student, or on the student's behalf in the case of a parent PLUS loan, for the payment period for which it was awarded.
Funds are returned first to Stafford Loans, then to Perkins Loans, and then to PLUS Loans. Once loans are satisfied, remaining unearned funds are distributed to the Pell Grant, then to FSEOG, then to other Title IV funds that require a refund. (Federal Work-Study funds earned prior to withdrawal can be kept by the student.)
Calculation of Title IV Assistance Unearned to Be Returned
The unearned amount of Title IV assistance to be returned is calculated by subtracting the amount of Title IV assistance earned by the student from the amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student in the case of a parent PLUS loan. Brandeis will return all unearned funds back to the aid program and the student will be responsible for any balance it creates.
Responsibility of the Student for Return of Unearned Aid
If the University is not required to return all of the excess funds the student must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that must be returned, the student (or the parent for a PLUS Loan) must repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from the refund policy that the University has. Therefore, the student may still owe funds to the University to cover unpaid institutional charges. The University will also charge the student for any Title IV program funds that it is required to return.
If the return of the funds creates a balance due on the student account, the student will be responsible to pay the balance on his or her account.
Example of Return to Title IV Refund Calculation
The amount of assistance that a student has earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if a student completed 30% of the payment period or period of enrollment, the student earns 30% of the Title IV assistance that he or she was originally scheduled to receive. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, the student earns all the assistance that he or she was scheduled to receive for that period.
If a student receives (or the institution or a parent receives on his or her behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, the University must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:
- The student's institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of the student’s funds, or
- The entire amount of excess funds.
Timeframe for Return of Title IV Funds by the Institution
The University must return the funds for which it is responsible as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date of its determination that the student withdrew. The University must offer any post-withdrawal disbursement within 30 days of the date the school determined the student withdrew.
Brandeis must determine the withdrawal date for a student that does not provide notification to the institution no later than 30 days after the end of the earlier of the payment period or period of enrollment.
The Return of Title IV Refund calculation will be performed within 30 days of the withdrawal from the University. Notification of aid adjustments, as well as whether the student owes a Title IV or HEA overpayment, or owe funds to Brandeis, will be sent in writing to the student.
Further information on the refund policy for aided students and the calculation for any specific case is available from the Office of Student Financial Services.