What You Need to Know
For Undergraduate Students, a full-time course load is defined as taking 12 or more credits. For Graduate students, a full-time course load is defined as taking 9 or more credits. If a student is making a change to their schedule during the semester, whether it be dropping below full-time status or adding up to full-time status, it may impact the amount of financial aid they are receiving.
Please review the information provided below on how each type of enrollment change impacts a student’s financial aid and progress. You can also download or pick up a brochure on Information for Students Considering Withdrawal .
If a student withdraws from a class during or after the add/drop period, there could potentially be a need to adjust the financial aid that was originally awarded. It is in a student’s best interest to contact the Office of Financial Aid to inquire about the possible impact a course withdrawal may have based on their individual enrollment status and the types of financial aid awarded.
Federal regulations require that if a student withdraws from all classes a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation must be performed to determine how much of the student’s aid must be returned to the government. If a student drops all of his/her courses during the add/drop period, the full amount of their federal financial aid will be returned. The types of aid impacted are as follows:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal PLUS Loan (Parent/Graduate Student)
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG
- Federal Teach Grant
- Federal Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant
- Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA)
The amount of aid that will possibly have to be returned is based on the exact date that is used to complete the R2T4 process. If the student has completed more than 60% of the period of enrollment, then the student has earned all Title IV funding (100%) and no federal aid has to be returned to the government.
Please note that if a student is appealing for an administrative withdrawal or is enrolled in sessions then there may be additional adjustments needed based on the change in enrollment reported by the Registrar's office.
The R2T4 policies govern only the amount of Federal Aid that must be returned in the case of a withdrawal. The amount of your actual charges (e.g., tuition, fees, etc.) is determined by our institutional policy, which can be reviewed in the University Refund Policy.
Students at West Chester University who receive all "Z" grades, which indicates that they ceased attendance at some point in the term, will be reviewed as “unofficial withdrawals”. Students with "NG" status will also be contacted in order to confirm they are intending to complete the work and earn a grade in the course in the given time.
For students who are reviewed as an unofficial withdrawal, professors will be contacted directly by the Office of Financial Aid to determine the last date of academic activity. The Office of Financial Aid will utilize the reported last date of academic activity in the Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculations. If a date cannot be determined by the professors, then the 50% mark in the term will be utilized as the default.
Students who choose to audit a course may also see a change in their financial aid award, even if the change to the “audit” status takes place in the middle of the term. This is due to the fact that for Title IV purposes, auditing a course does not count as an earned grade and therefore would not be taken into consideration when determining a student’s enrollment status.
For example, if a student was registered for 12 credits, but was auditing one, 3 credit course, they would be considered part-time since only 9 of the credits count for Title IV aid purposes. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have questions about how auditing coursework will impact your award.
The Pennsylvania State Grant (PHEAA) award will be adjusted based on institutional policy of refund/reduction in tuition charges for a full University withdrawal for the term.
For example, if you are withdrawing during the third week of the term at a 40% tuition charge you will only be eligible to keep 40% of your PA State Grant award for the term.
Students should be aware that withdrawing from all courses during a term could have an effect on their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which requires students to earn 67% of the credits they have attempted. Students should also be made aware that a return of funds to the federal government might create a balance due on their student account. Institutional policy dictates that all students that drop below half-time status for a term are required to complete Federal Exit Loan Counseling (Note: this does not mean you will not be able to be considered for financial aid in future terms if you re-enroll, but instead is an educational tutorial that should be completed online at studentloans.gov).
Students considering withdrawing from all their classes should considering making an appointment with the Office of Financial Aid to discuss their situation prior to their withdrawal.