The law specifies how GIA determines the amount of Title IV programme assistance that a student earns if he/she withdraws from the course. The Title IV programmes that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), Federal Perkins Loans, Direct Loans and Direct PLUS Loans.
Although a student’s aid is deposited in his/her tuition account at the start of each payment period, a student earns the funds as he/she completes the period. If a student withdraws during a payment period or a period of enrolment, the amount of Title IV programme assistance that the student has earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If a student received (or GIA or a parent received on the student’s behalf) less assistance than the amount that the student earned, the student may be able to receive those additional funds. If the student received more assistance than he/she earned, the excess funds must be returned by GIA and/or the student.
The amount of assistance that a student has earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if a student completed 30% of his/her payment period or period of enrolment, the student earned 30% of the assistance they were originally scheduled to receive. Once the student has completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrolment, the student has earned all the assistance that they were scheduled to receive for that period.
Title IV refunds are allocated in the following order:
1. Unsubsidised Federal Direct Stafford Loan Programme
2. Subsidised Federal Direct Stafford Loan Programme
3. Federal PLUS Loan Programme
4. Federal Perkins Loan Programme
5. Federal Pell Grant Programme
6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Programme
7. Any other Title IV programme
8. Other federal, state, private or institutional student financial aid programmes
If a student did not receive all of the funds that he/she earned, the student may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If a student’s post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, GIA 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 that they don’t incur additional debt. GIA may automatically use all or a portion of the student’s post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. GIA needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If a student does not give their permission, the student will be offered the funds. It may be in the student’s best interest to allow GIA to keep the funds to reduce the student’s debt at GIA.
If a student is a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and they have not completed the first 30 days of their programme before they withdraw, they will not receive any of the Direct Loan funds that they would have received had they remained enrolled past the 30th day.
If the student receives (or GIA or the student’s parent receives on the student’s behalf) excess Title IV programme funds that must be returned, GIA must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:
1. The student’s institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of the student's funds, or
2. The entire amount of excess funds.
GIA must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of the student's Title IV programme funds.
If GIA is not required to return all of the excess funds, the student must return the remaining amount.
Any loan funds that the student must return, he/she (or a parent for a Direct PLUS Loan) repays in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.
Any amount of unearned grant funds that the student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that the student must repay is half of the grant funds the student received or was scheduled to receive. A student does not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. A student must make arrangements with GIA or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.
The requirements for Title IV programme funds when a student withdraws are separate from any refund policy that GIA may have; a student may ask GIA for a copy. A student may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. GIA may also charge a student for any Title IV programme funds that the school was required to return. GIA can also provide students with the requirements and procedures for officially withdrawing from school.
If a student has general questions about their Title IV programme funds, they can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center on +1 800 433 3243. TTY users may call +1 800 730 8913. Information is also available from Student Aid on the Web at www.studentaid.ed.gov