Video: What if I withdraw from school?

If you withdraw from school

(Scroll down this page for a detailed explanation of how the college determines how much you might have to repay, and for an FAQ with examples of this process.)

Federal regulations require that students who withdraw from school – meaning they have withdrawn from all classes – before completing 60 percent of the quarter may have to repay all or a portion of the federal “Title IV” financial aid funds that have been disbursed to them.

At De Anza College, these repayment provisions apply to the Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Direct Student Loans.

Students who receive non-passing grades in all of their courses will also be subject to repayment provisions. If a student receives non-passing grades in all classes attempted, the college will treat this as if the student attended 50 percent of the quarter. If the student actually attended more than 50 percent, the student must obtain written verification from the course instructor and submit it to the Financial Aid Office within 45 days of receiving a repayment notification, or within 45 days from the end of the quarter. If verification is received, the Financial Aid Office will perform a new calculation of the student’s attendance and disburse any funds to which the student is still entitled.

The repayment process – known as “Return to Title IV” or R2T4 – involves two separate payments.

Portion A, or the Student Return

Portion A must be returned by the student to the U.S. Department of Education. A student will not be eligible to receive financial aid at any postsecondary institution until this amount is repaid.

  • The student has 45 days to repay this amount in full to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District business services office.

  • After 45 days, the outstanding debt will be referred to the U.S. Department of Education debt collection agency. Repayment must then be arranged with the U.S. Department of Education. 

Portion B, or the Institutional Return

Portion B must be returned by the college to the U.S. Department of Education.

  • The college will treat this amount as a charge against the student’s account at De Anza.

  • A student may be able to receive additional federal aid while this charge is pending against the student account at De Anza, but the college may block the student from enrolling in classes, accessing transcripts or receiving grades.

The following notice explains how the college determines the amount of federal financial aid funds must be repaid in these circumstances. It also serves to disclose required student consumer information.

Treatment of Title IV Financial Aid When A Student Withdraws

Federal law specifies how De Anza College must calculate the amount of Title IV funds that you have earned, and any amount that you may have to return, if you withdraw from school. The Title IV financial aid funds covered by this law are Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Direct Student Loans.

When you withdraw during a period of enrollment or during your payment period, the amount of Title IV funds that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received less financial aid than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive the additional funds. If you received more aid than you earned, then you or the college must return the excess amount to the federal government.

How Your "Amount Earned" is Calculated

The amount you have earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if you completed 30 percent of your payment period or period of enrollment, you have earned 30 percent of the aid that you were scheduled to receive. Under the law, if you complete more than 60 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment, you will be treated as having earned the full amount of aid that you were scheduled to receive for that period.

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes student loan funds, you may choose to decline the student loan funds so that you do not incur additional student loan debt. De Anza College may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement (including student loan funds, if you accept them) for any tuition and fees that you owe. For other charges, the college needs your permission to use the post-withdrawal disbursement. If you do not give your permission, you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow De Anza College to apply the funds to your student account in order to reduce any charges that you owe the college.

There are some instances when you may be scheduled to receive Title IV funds but the money cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw, because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year student and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not earn any Direct Loan funds that you would have received if you had remained enrolled past the 30th day.

How funds are returned to the government

If you received excess Title IV funds that must be returned to the federal government, the college must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of

Your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds


The entire amount of excess funds

The college must return this amount even if it didn't keep this amount of your Title IV funds.

If the college is not required to return all of the excess funds, then you must return the remaining amount.

  • If that includes any student loan funds, you must repay that amount in accordance with the terms of your loan promissory notes. In other words, you must make the scheduled payments to the lender or holder of the loan over a period of time.

  • Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds that you received or were scheduled to receive. You must make arrangements with De Anza College or with the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.

The requirements for Title IV funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that De Anza College may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the college to cover unpaid institutional charges. The college may also charge you for any Title IV funds that the college was required to return.

Time Frame and Priority for Returning Funds

There are guidelines for the time frame and the order in which Title IV funds must be returned.

De Anza College must return unearned funds for which it is responsible as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days from the determination of a student's withdrawal. The time frame for the return of Title IV funds is based on the whether the student has made an official or unofficial notification of withdrawal.

  • In the case of an official notification of withdrawal, the date of the determination that the student has withdrawn is based on the actual withdrawal date or the date of notification, whichever is later.

  • In the case of an unofficial withdrawal, where there is no notification by the student, the date of the determination is the date the college becomes aware that the student has ceased attendance.

The college may always consider the student's withdrawal date to be the student's last date of attendance at an academically related activity, if the college documents that the activity is academically related and that the student attended the activity.

For a student who withdraws without providing notification to the college, the college must determine the withdrawal date no later than 30 days after the end of the earliest of these:

  • The payment period or period of enrollment (as appropriate)

  • The academic year

  • The educational program

The college will return Title IV funds in the following order

  1. Direct Student Loans

  2. Pell Grants

  3. Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants 

For More Information

If you have questions about your Title IV federal financial aid, you may call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (800.433.3243). TTY users may call 800.730.8913. Information is also available on the Federal Student Aid  website.

Examples, Questions and Answers

What happens to my awarded grant funds if I withdraw from all my classes?

The amount of assistance you have earned is determined up to the point of withdrawal. For example, if you completed 30 percent of the semester, you earned 30 percent of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. If you received more assistance than you earned, you must repay the excess funds.

The Financial Aid Office will calculate how much you owe, and inform you in writing of the amount.

Note: If you withdraw from school after 60 percent of the semester is over, you may not need to pay back the financial assistance you received.   You may be required to submit a Instructor Verification of Attendance to determine the last date of recorded academic activities.

Do I need to notify the Financial Aid Office if I withdraw from school?

Yes! Inform the Financial Aid Office immediately. Discuss your academic or personal reasons for leaving. Perhaps you can stay enrolled but take fewer courses, or use services (such as tutoring or personal support) that will help you stay enrolled.

If you must withdraw, begin the withdrawal process at the Office of Admissions and Records, Registration & Student Services Building, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd. Cupertino, 95014

The Financial Aid Office will notify you of how much you will owe and how you will have to repay it.

Note: If you leave without following proper procedures and you are required to return Title IV funds, the Financial Aid Office may put an institutional hold on your future registration and transcripts. Also, a national hold will be placed on your future aid eligibility at any institution through NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System).

After the national hold is placed, you will be required to contact the federal government and arrange for re-payment. Your financial aid eligibility will be reinstated when you have arranged your repayment.

How does the Financial Aid Office calculate how much I owe back?

The Financial Aid Office determines how much you owe by using a specific formula set by the federal government.

For example, say you were awarded a $1000 grant and there are 100 days in the term. If you drop out on the 26th day, then you earned 26 percent of your grant.

The Financial Aid Office will calculate what you earned, and did not earn:

You earned: $1000 grant x 26%= $260

You did not earn: $1000 x 74% = $740

De Anza College will owe some of the money back to the federal program. The college share will depend on the number of units you took:

If you took 12 units at $18 each, your total enrollment fee is $216

The college share will be: $216 x 74% (unearned) = $160

You will owe De Anza College $160

You will have to pay back to the federal funding program the unearned amount minus the college share times 50 percent:

Unearned amount minus the college share: $740 - $160 = $580

The amount you have to pay back the federal program: $580 x 50% = $290

You will have to repay $290 to the Department of Education. You may work with De Anza College to return the funds through the college.

Do I still need to repay my loan if I withdraw from De Anza College?

Yes. If you receive loan money and withdraw from all of your classes, you will still need to pay back the money.

Refer to the rules of the Direct Loan program. You may also refer to the Entrance Counseling packet you received at the time you applied for the loan.

Can I keep my work-study job if I withdraw from the college?

No. You must inform your employer and the Financial Aid Office, and stop working immediately.

You will not have to return the money you earned while working under the federal work-study program. Any amount of money you received while enrolled at least half-time is all yours to keep.

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