Withdrawal and Return of Title IV Federal Financial Aid

If you completely withdraw or stop attending all classes at SUNY Cortland before completing more than 60% of the term, a portion of the total federal aid you received may need to be returned to the U.S. Department of Education immediately. This process is called Return of Title IV Funds. The purpose of the repayment calculation is to determine the amount of Title IV federal aid you are eligible to receive and to ensure that you have not been over awarded federal financial aid due to your withdrawal.

SUNY Cortland leave of absence / official withdrawal from college petition

All students withdrawing from SUNY Cortland are required to meet with their financial aid advisor to review their rights and responsibilities regarding financial aid. The date of last attendance is determined by the appropriate associate dean once the form has been submitted. Students who have earned all failing (“E”), incomplete (“INC”), withdrawal (X”), or a combination of such grades will be reviewed individually at the end of each semester to determine that the grades were not the result of an unofficial withdrawal. Follow up with faculty/instructors and the International Programs Office to determine last date of attendance will occur.

Title IV aid programs at SUNY Cortland:

Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (Title IV and HEA program), establishes general rules that apply to the student financial assistance programs. For the purposes of Return of Title IV Funds, these programs include Federal Pell Grants, Iraq Afghanistan Service Grants, Federal TEACH Grants, Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS and Graduate PLUS Loans and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG). Federal Work-Study funds that have been earned will not be included.

Impact of withdrawing before completing at least 60% of the term:

If you begin but do not complete the semester at SUNY Cortland and receive Title IV funds, the university has to return any Title IV funds that were not earned. If you attended more than 60% of the term, all Title IV aid is considered earned and no return of funds will be required. If you, SUNY Cortland, or parent (on your behalf) received less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds.

Calculation of Return of Title IV Funds:

The Student Accounts Office will determine if you will receive a full or partial refund of your tuition and fees, based on the Refund Policy as listed in the SUNY Cortland catalog and your official withdrawal date (which is the date your withdrawal form was completed and submitted to your associate dean).

The Financial Aid Office will calculate the amount of financial aid you have earned prior to withdrawing. This is determined by multiplying the percentage of the term attended (calculated by dividing the number of days up to the withdrawal date by the number of calendar days in the semester including weekends and holidays, but not including breaks of 5 days or longer) by the Title IV aid received. All types of federal aid are used in this calculation. For example, if you completed 30% of your payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60% of the term, you earn all of the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period.

If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by SUNY Cortland and/or you. Any Title IV federal aid that the student is not eligible for must be returned to the appropriate federal program. Title IV federal aid is returned in the following order: Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan, Subsidized Federal Direct Loan, Graduate PLUS Loan, Parent PLUS Loan, Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, TEACH Grant and Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant excluding Federal Work-Study. Your financial aid advisor, at time of Return of Title IV Funds calculation, will notify you in writing of all changes and requirements associated with the return of federal student aid funds.

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, because the funds had not paid to your account by the time you withdrew, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. SUNY Cortland will notify you if you are eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, you may choose to decline the loan funds so that you do not incur additional debt. You must respond within 14 days from the date of notification to accept the post-withdrawal disbursement or it will be canceled. SUNY Cortland may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges.

Within three to four weeks after your withdrawal date, the Financial Aid Office will notify you of any adjustments required to be made to Federal Student Aid program funds. The Student Accounts Office will notify you of any balance due to SUNY Cortland.

The requirements for Federal Student Aid program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy SUNY Cortland may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. SUNY Cortland may also charge you for any Federal Student Aid program funds that were used to pay charges and that the school was required to return.

Calculation of Return of Military Tuition Assistance:

Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of TA funds originally awarded.

To comply with the Department of Defense policy, SUNY Cortland will return any unearned TA funds on a prorate basis through at least the 60% portion of the period for which the funds were provided. TA funds are earned proportionally during an enrollment period, with unearned funds returned based upon when a student stops attending. These funds are returned to the military Service branch.  Instances when a Service member stops attending due to a military service obligation, we will work with the affected Service member to identify solutions that will not result in student debt for the returned portion.

Institutional schedule for return of unearned TA funds

16-week Course Withdraw submitted:

Before or during weeks 1-2 100% return

During weeks 3-4   75% return

During weeks 5-8   50% return

During weeks 9  40% return (60% of course is completed)

During weeks 10-16   0% return


8-week Course Withdraw submitted:

Before or during week 1  100% return

During week 2   75% return

During weeks 3-4   50% return

During week 5  40% return (60% of course is completed)

During weeks 6-8   0% return