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Virginia International University Financial Aid Policy

Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4)

Unofficial Withdrawals/Resignations

Students receiving Title IV aid who stop attending all classes and receive all F’s will be treated as unofficial withdrawals. Students who are suspended from all courses based on unexcused absences will be treated as unofficial withdrawals. For unofficial withdrawals, the withdrawal date is defined as the last documented date of attendance at an academically-related activity, as defined by Federal Regulations.

An institution must determine the withdrawal date for a Title IV recipient who unofficially withdraws no later than 30 days after the end of the semester in which the student unofficially withdrew or the end of the academic year in which the student unofficially withdrew, whichever is earlier. The institution must determine a student as a withdraw if the student is not in attendance in all courses for the maximum of 14 days; the institution may withdraw the student at an earlier notice.

Academic Attendance and Attendance at an Academically-Related Activity

Attendance criteria include, but are not limited to

  • physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
  • submitting an academic assignment;
  • taking an exam, an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction;
  • attending a study group that is assigned by the institution;
  • participating in an online discussion about academic matters; and
  • initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.

Academic attendance and attendance at an academically-related activity do not include activities where a student may be present, but not academically engaged. R2T4 calculations are based off of the last date of attendance.
The Financial Aid Office will ensure that FA recipients are meeting the attendance requirements by attendance records for all financial aid students at least once a week. 

Title IV Refunds

When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive. If a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds withdraws from a school after beginning attendance, the amount of Title IV funds earned by the student must be determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, it is the responsibility of the school and the student to return any unearned funds to the Department of Education.  The R2T4 policy and Institutional refund policy is provided to all students via the catalog, which can be accessed at www.viu.edu.

Withdrawal Process

The law requires that if a recipient of Title IV assistance withdraws/resigns from an institution before completing the semester in which the recipient began attendance, the institution must calculate the percentage and amount of Title IV assistance the student earned. Unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the Title IV programs by the school and/or the student. Students who wish to resign from the University should follow withdraw procedures located in the academic catalog. An electronic version of the catalog is located online at www.viu.edu

Withdrawal Date, Last Date of Attendance, and Date of Determination

The date of withdrawal or withdrawal date is always the last date of attendance (LDA) as supported by VIU’s attendance records.  The date of determination (DOD) is no later than 14 days from the LDA, except if the student confirmed and documented his or her return into a course within the payment period.   When a student indicates his or her intent to return, the DOD is no later than 14 days from the date the student was scheduled to return. 

Leave of Absence

Students on leave of absence will be treated as a withdrawal for Federal Financial Aid purposes. 

Post-Withdrawal Disbursements

If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and for which the student is otherwise eligible, he or she is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid that was not received.  Any post-withdrawal disbursement due must meet the current required conditions for late disbursements. A school is required to make (or offer as appropriate) post-withdrawal disbursements to eligible students. A post-withdrawal disbursement must be made within 180 days of the date the institution determines that the student withdrew. The amount of a post-withdrawal disbursement is determined by following the requirements for calculating earned FSA and has no relationship to incurred educational costs.
Procedures:

  • A student (or parent, in the case of a Direct PLUS loan) is notified of eligibility for a post-withdrawal disbursement of within 30 days of the date of determination by email and must respond within fourteen days.
  • If the student (or parent) accepts the post-withdrawal disbursement, it will be made as soon as possible but no later than 180 days of the withdrawal date.
  • The Financial Aid Office will track this notification and make appropriate updates in the system as necessary.
  • When the student’s (or parent’s) response is received, it will be updated in the system.
  • The priorities for disbursement are grants first; paid to outstanding institutional charges before being paid directly to the student (or parent).

Determining the Percentage of Aid Earned

VIU uses the payment period for the calculation of the Return of Title IV Funds formula. The payment period is the semester in which the student received Title IV funds.   Because classroom attendance is taken by instructors and tracked for online courses, VIU is an attendance taking institution.

The percentage of time the student completed for the semester determines the "earned percentage." The earned percentage is based on calendar days in the semester, including weekends. Only scheduled breaks of at least 5 days will be excluded. The length of the break is determined by counting from the first day of the break up to the next day on which classes are offered. The weekends preceding and following the break are counted as part of the break, unless Saturday classes are scheduled.

Responsibility to Return Funds

Institutional charges are used to determine the unearned portion of Federal Student Aid.   It is the school’s and student’s responsibility to return any un-earned aid funds.   Any unearned funds are returned within 45 days of the date of determination that the student withdrew.

Order of Return of Title IV Funds

  1. Title IV aid is returned in the following order:
  2. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  3. Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  4. Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  5. Federal Pell Grants
  6. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Student Notifications

Upon completing the R2T4 calculation, the Accounting Office will return any unearned Loan and Grant funds to the Department of Education.   Students will be notified in writing of any funds returned on their behalf.

Intent to Return

The law requires that if a recipient of Title IV assistance withdraws/resigns from an institution before completing the semester in which the recipient began attendance, the institution must calculate the percentage and amount of Title IV assistance the student earned.  However, if a student indicates, in writing that they will be returning for a session within the same semester or payment period, the student will not be considered as withdrawn for Title IV purposes. The Financial Aid Office must obtain this confirmation at the time of withdrawal even if the student has already registered for subsequent courses.  
If a student fails to return as scheduled the withdrawal date remains the last date of attendance according to school records but the date of determination is no later than 14 days after the date the student was scheduled to return or resume attendance.

Return to Title IV Examples

  1. It is Jennifer’s first semester, and she is enrolled in the Business Administration program. She is a full-time student enrolled in 12 credits in the semester (15 weeks / 105 days). On the 2nd day of week 7, Jennifer withdrew from her courses to pursue an acting career. Jennifer attended VIU for 51 days ((7 x 7) + 2 = 51) in an enrollment period of 105 days; therefore, she completed 48.57% (51/105) of her enrollment period.
    During the current payment period, Jennifer was disbursed a Pell grant for $1,500 and a subsidized loan for $1,500, a total of $3,000. Her earned aid is $1457 (48.57% x 3,000), whereas her unearned aid is $1,543 ($3,000-$1,457). After the institutional refund is applied and unearned Pell Grant funds are returned Jennifer will have to repay the disbursed and earned subsidized loan amount funds. She may also have to repay any disbursed unearned loan funds to VIU.
  2. It is John’s second semester and he is a full-time student enrolled in 12 credits in the semester. On the 5th day of week 11, it was the last time John attended class. John attended VIU for 75 days ((11 x 7) + 5 = 82) in an enrollment period of 110 days; therefore, he completed 74.54.% (82/110) of his enrollment period. During the current payment period, John was disbursed a Pell grant for $900, a subsidized loan for $2,500, and an unsubsidized loan for $1,000, a total of $4,400. Because he attended for at least 60% of the enrollment period, his total earned aid is $4,400, and there is no unearned aid.

APPROVED BY (Executive Committee)

President: Dr. Isa Sarac
Executive VP of Finance & Technology: Prashish Shrestha
Associate VP of Institutional Effectiveness & Quality Assurance: Christina Koonts
EFFECTIVE DATE
12/16/2016

RESPONSIBLE POSITION/DEPARTMENT
Financial Aid Officer/Financial Aid Office
Accounting Bookkeeper/Accounting Office