Return to Title IV Federal Aid (R2T4) Policy

Overview and general requirements:

Federal regulations require the use of a formula established by the U.S. Department of Education, titled R2T4 (Return to Title IV) to determine the amount of federal financial aid a student has earned as of the student’s withdrawal date. Students receiving Title IV Financial Aid, Federal Grants and/or Federal Student Loans and withdraw from the University in the first 60.01% of a payment period are subject to the R2T4 requirement. A student is considered to have earned all of their financial aid if they complete more than 60% of the days in the payment period.

If the student completes 60% or less of the term, then the Financial Aid Office must apply the formula:

  • Number of Days Attended / Length of Term = % of Aid Student Earned

The unearned portion of the Title IV funds awarded to the student must be returned to the Federal source. The University must perform this calculation within 30 days of determining the student has withdrawn and then return the funds within 15 days after performing the calculation. In total, the University must return all funds no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal. The calculation of the return of these funds may result in the student owing a balance to the University and/or the Department of Education.

Note that the institutional refund of tuition and fees is a separate calculation performed by staff in the Student Financial Services Office.

Effective for Summer 2021 - Mini Sessions

There are new regulations that impact schools that have mini sessions within a semester. A mini session is a course that starts at the beginning, or during, a semester and ends at or before the end of that semester. These mini sessions have an impact on the length of the term and as such on the R2T4 regulation (see above equation for percentage of aid earned).

Every semester there will be a freeze of the courses that a student remains registered, after drop/add, and the student's length of term (or length of schedule for that term) will be calculated and frozen. That will be the number of days used for the bottom of the equation (denominator) of the R2T4 calculation for that student should (s)he withdraw. The number of days for the top of the equation (numerator) will always be the number of days attended and that is established by the student's date of separation.

Withdrawal determination for Return to Title IV:

The return to Title IV policy applies to students who discontinue enrollment in all classes on or after the first day of the term. Student inquiries regarding potential withdrawal are directed to the Student Life Office.   The withdrawal date for students is determined by the Student Life Office staff. Students complete a withdrawal form that is used to determine the date of withdrawal. Once the withdrawal date is determined, an email communication is sent with the student status change to Financial Aid. The student status change form is printed for the FA Associate Director to perform the return to Title IV calculation.  

Unofficial Withdrawal:

The Director of Student Financial Services reviews posted grades at the end of every term. If a student receives all non-passing grades (0’s), they may be subject to the R2T4 calculation.  If a student “earned” at least one of the 0 grades (they participated in class and received the 0 for poor performance), then the R2T4 calculation is not required.  However, if the student failed all classes because they stopped attending at some point in the semester, then an R2T4 calculation is required based on the last documented date of attendance. Academic departments would be contacted to determine the last date of an academic related activity (i.e. documented attendance in class, submission of a homework assignment, 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, or the taking of an exam). In this case, the last date of the academic related activity is used to determine the unofficial withdrawal date. If the last date of the academic related activity is after the 60% date of the semester, no adjustment is required.  If a last date of attendance cannot be determined, the 50% point of the term would be used as the withdrawal date.  At the end of the term, students receiving all 0’s will be notified of the requirement to perform the R2T4 calculation.  The FA Office will then perform the R2T4 calculation. 

Unofficial withdrawals are determined within 30 days of the end of term, and the return to Title IV calculation within 30 after that.

R2T4 calculation steps:

  1. The percentage of a payment period completed is calculated by the number of days enrolled up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total days in the payment period. The academic calendar is used by the Director of Student Financial Services to determine the total days in the length of term (any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of aid earned. 
  2. The Director or Assistant Director of Student Financial Services prepares a refund calculation worksheet. The SFS refund calculation worksheet is used to verify the calculation. 
  3. The Student Financial Services refund calculation worksheet is provided to Financial Aid to check the R2T4 calculation.  The Office of Student Life provides the student withdrawal notifications used for this process.
  4. The FA Associate Director uses the dates on the withdrawal notice and the refund calculation worksheet to perform the R2T4 calculation. The resulting R2T4 calculation is compared to the refund calculation worksheet for accuracy of days enrolled and percentage of earned aid.  The resulting R2T4 calculation form shows the percentage of earned federal aid, the amount of earned federal aid, and the amount of unearned federal aid. 
  5. The R2T4 calculation is set for transmission to return the unearned Title IV funds.  Other financial aid resources are adjusted at this time according to the Student Financial Services refund calculation worksheet.  Any refund and/or repayment of outside scholarships is determined by the donor. The FA Associate Director contacts the donor for their policy.
  6. Title IV returns are returned in the following order:
    1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans
    2. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
    3. Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
    4. Federal Pell Grants
    5. Federal SEOG
    6. TEACH Grants
    7. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

Earned vs Unearned Aid:

The calculation of Title IV funds earned is equal to the percentage of the payment period the student completed. The percentage of the payment period completed is calculated by dividing the total number of calendar days completed by the total number of calendar days in the payment period. The percentage of Title IV assistance to which the student is entitled or earned is equal to this completed percentage up to 60%. If the withdrawal occurs after the 60% point, the percentage is equal to 100%. The amount of aid the student earned is calculated by multiplying the percentage of the length of term the student completed by the total amount of Title IV aid disbursed (and could have been disbursed) to the student.

The calculation of Title IV funds which must be returned is based on the percentage of unearned Title IV aid. The percentage of unearned aid is calculated by subtracting the earned aid percentage from 100%. The amount of aid the student has not earned is calculated by multiplying the percent of unearned aid by the total amount of Title IV aid disbursed.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the University and/or the student may be required to return a portion of the funds. The student has up to 45 days from the time the return to Title IV calculation was made to repay the funds in order to retain Title IV eligibility. If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the University would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement.

Post-withdrawal disbursement:

Students may be eligible for a late or post-withdrawal disbursement if they have accepted aid that did not disburse at the time of withdrawal. If eligible, the Office of Financial Aid will send notification of the action required to either accept or decline a portion, or all, of the late disbursement within 30 days of the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew. The student or parent has 14 days to respond instructing the University to make a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the student or parent does not respond within the 14 day timeframe, the University may make the late disbursement upon request at a later date. The student is notified in writing with the outcome of the late request.  Post-withdrawal disbursements cannot be made after 180 days of the date of determination that a student withdrew for loans and no later than 45 days for grants. A post-withdrawal disbursement would be made from available grant funds before available loan funds.

- Grant Funds:

The University may automatically use all or a portion of a student’s post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fee, and room and board charges (as contracted or billed by the University).  The University would need the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other institutional charges. The University would disburse any amount of a post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds that is not credited to the student’s account and would make the disbursement as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date of determination that the student withdrew.

- Loan Funds:

The University requires confirmation from a student, or parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, before making any disbursement of loan funds for a post-withdrawal disbursement.

The notification, provided within 30 days of the date of the determination that a student has withdrawn, includes the information necessary to make an informed decision as to whether the student or parent would like to accept any disbursement of loan funds.

If the student, or parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, does not wish to accept some or all of the loan funds that the University wishes to credit to the student’s account, the University would not disburse those funds.

If a response is not received from the student or parent within the permitted time frame, or the student declines the funds, the University would return any earned funds that the school was holding to the Title IV programs. If a student or parent submits a timely response accepting all or a portion of a post-withdrawal disbursement, per the student’s or parent’s instructions, the University would disburse the loan funds within 180 days of the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew.


The University would notify the student if a grant overpayment is due within 30 days of the date of withdrawal.  The responsibility to pay unearned aid is shared by the University and the student. The R2T4 calculation of the amount of assistance the University is responsible for returning to the Title IV accounts is calculated first. The student’s repayment obligation is determined after the school’s share is calculated. The school must return the lesser of the amount of Title IV funds that the student does not earn, or the amount of institutional charges that the student incurred for the payment period or period of enrollment multiplied by the percentage of funds that was not earned. The student’s share is the difference between the total unearned aid amount and the institution’s share. The institution’s share is allocated among the Title IV programs before the student’s share. Once the student’s share is allocated, any amount owed to a grant program is reduced by half per the 50% grant protection rule.  The student share of loans are repaid by the student according to the terms of the student’s promissory note.

The student is obligated to return any Title IV overpayment in the same order that is required for the University as listed above. Student grant overpayments may be resolved through one of the following: full and immediate repayment to the institution, repayment arrangements satisfactory to the school, or overpayment collection procedures negotiated with Default Resolution Group.

Students who owe overpayments as a result of withdrawal retain their eligibility for Title IV funds for a maximum of 45 days from the earlier of the date the school sends the student notice of the overpayment, or the date the school was required to notify the student of the overpayment. The University notifies the student that he or she must repay the overpayment or make satisfactory arrangements to repay it within 30 days of determining the student’s repayment status for all or part of the Title IV grant.

Notification to the Student:

The Student Financial Services Office notifies the student of any outstanding balance due to the University as a result of the adjustment to tuition, fees and other miscellaneous charges, federal Title IV aid returned based on the Return of Title IV calculation, and any returns of institutional, state, or private grants or scholarships. The student would receive an updated billing statement showing these adjustments.

R2T4 Waiver

Effective Summer 2021, for students taking mini sessions, a student can earn an R2T4 Waiver. That means if the student fully withdraws from the University before reaching the 60+% point of the semester, an R2T4 calculation does not need to be completed and the student’s Title IV aid need not be returned.

A waiver is earned when a student completes (with a passing grade) a mini session that represents 49% or greater the length of the total semester. For example, in the Summer of 2021, the Session 1 mini sessions are 5 weeks long and the semester is 10 weeks long. That means Session 1 is 50% of the semester, which is 49% or greater. If a student completes Session 1 with at least one passing grade and then withdraws Financial Aid will not have perform an R2T4 calculation.