Students who withdraw from the university after the start of the term must complete a Withdrawal Form through the Registrar's Office and notify the Office of Financial Aid of their current and future term enrollment plans with an Enrollment Revision Form. If financial aid funds were used to pay tuition and fees any refundable tuition amount is returned to the appropriate financial aid sources (refer to the tuition/fee refund schedule on the Business Affairs page).

OSU is required to calculate the Return of Title IV financial aid funds for students that officially withdraw (complete the withdrawal process) or unofficially withdraw (ceasing course participation) during the academic term. Students who do not intend to complete the term for which they are enrolled, should follow the official withdrawal process as outlined by university regulations.

The information below is a brief summary of the process that takes place when a student withdraws from all courses or fails to receive a passing grade for a given term. The policies and procedures listed are subject to change without advance notice based on changes in federal or institutional policies. This is not an exhaustive list of the rules pertaining to the Return of Title IV funds. Further guidance regarding these policies and procedures may be obtained by contacting the Office of Financial Aid. Reference material relating to the federal rules for this process may be found in Volume 5 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook. The return of funds calculation worksheet may be found in the IFAP iLibrary.

The impact of a partial withdrawal (official or unofficial) will vary greatly by student status, type of aid awarded, participation, and other factors. Students who plan to drop, withdraw, or not complete one or more courses, should contact the Office of Financial Aid for a personalized evaluation of how a partial withdrawal will impact their current and future aid eligibility.

Below are some important things to keep in mind about how a partial withdrawal may impact current and future term federal aid eligibility:

Current Term

The Census Date is the point at which your enrollment is locked for financial aid purposes. During the fall, winter, and spring terms, the census coincides with the last date you can drop classes for a full tuition refund at OSU. At this point in the term, credit hours are locked and financial aid for the term is adjusted to reflect the student's official enrolled credits. In a standard length term, a partial withdrawal after census does not impact current term aid eligibility in most cases.

Terms when a student is taking short session/modular courses are treated differently. You may be considered completely withdrawn from the term even if you have successfully completed earlier modules or are enrolled in future modules. Review the “How is the return of federal aid calculation different for short sessions/modules?” section (drop down on the lower part of the withdrawal page) for further information.

Future Term

To maintain federal aid eligibility a student must make Satisfactory Academic Progress. This means meeting certain criteria for OSU GPA, Pace of completion, and consistency of completion. The Pace of completion percentage is calculated by dividing the number of credits successfully completed by the number attempted. When you withdraw from or do not successfully complete a course, your Pace of completion goes down. For example, if you complete 5 out of 10 credits your Pace of completion is 50%. If you do not maintain a pace of at least 67% overall Pace, federal aid eligibility can be lost. Find out more on our Satisfactory Academic Progress page.

Students are expected to understand the terms, conditions, and requirements that relate to their financial aid award. Additional information on retaining full financial aid eligibility may be found on the Financial Aid webpages:

Federal financial aid is awarded based on the expectation that a student will participate in all of their courses through the last day of the term. When a student does not complete any courses, the Office of Financial Aid is required to review their eligibility for aid that has been or could be disbursed. A return of Title IV (federal aid) calculation must be completed for any student who did not complete the term.  A student is considered to have earned the full amount of disbursed federal aid if they participated in all courses and completed more than 60% of the term. In cases where full participation and more than 60% term completion cannot be verified, a return of federal Title IV and other types of aid may be required.

In most cases, the percent completion date used for the Return of Title IV funds calculation will either be based on the date of withdrawal or the last date of participation reported by instructors. In the case of an official withdrawal that is processed during the term, the calculation is usually completed based on the date of official withdrawal reported by the Registrar’s Office.  A student is considered unofficially withdrawn if they fail to receive any passing grades in a given term. In the case of an unofficial withdrawal, the date used will be based on participation dates reported by OSU and partner school instructors. The last date of participation may also be used for the Return of Title IV funds calculation instead of the withdrawal date in cases where the participation date is considered more accurate. 

In addition to a current term return of federal funds, future term aid eligibility may be impacted by a full withdrawal. Students are expected to understand the terms, conditions, and requirements that relate to their financial aid award. Additional information on retaining full financial aid eligibility may be found on these Financial Aid webpages:

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Terms and Conditions

Renewing Your Aid

The Return of Title IV Funds calculation determines the amount of federal funds that must be returned by the institution as well as how much aid the student must return for the period of non-enrollment. For students who completed 60% or less of the term, a pro-rated schedule is used to determine the amount of aid that must to be returned. That means the percentage of aid that a student is eligible to retain for the term is based on the percentage of the term that they completed. If a return of aid amount is calculated, the funds must be repaid to the financial aid programs in the following order:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Ford Loan
  • Federal Direct Ford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • FSEOG

The amount of federal aid that you must repay is determined via the Federal Formula for Return of Title IV funds (Section 484B of the Higher Education Act). This law also specifies the order in which funds are to be returned to the financial aid programs from which they were awarded, starting with loan programs.

You may be required to make a repayment when cash has been disbursed from financial aid funds, in excess of the amount of aid that you earned (based on the date of your total withdrawal or last date of participation) during the term. The amount of Title IV aid earned is determined by multiplying the total Title IV aid (other than FWS) for which you qualified by the percentage of time during the term that you were enrolled.

If less aid was disbursed than was earned, you may submit a request to receive a late disbursement for the difference.

If more aid was disbursed than was earned, the amount of Title IV aid that you must return (i.e. not earned) is determined by subtracting the earned amount from the amount actually disbursed.

The responsibility for returning unearned Title IV aid is shared between the university and you. It is allocated according to the portion of disbursed aid that could have been used to cover university charges, and the portion that could have been disbursed directly to you once those charges were covered. OSU will distribute the unearned aid back to the Title IV programs, as specified by law. The return of funds will be completed within 45 days of the date the determination of the withdrawal. You will receive a letter by postal mail if the Return of Title IV Funds calculation was completed and a return of funds was required. If the Return of Title IV Funds calculation was not required but funds needed to be returned for other reasons, you will be notified through your OSU student (onid) email.

You will be billed for the amount that you owe to the Title IV programs, as well as any amount due to the university, as a result of Title IV funds that were returned that would have been used to cover university charges.

Withdrawing (official or unofficially) from a term may also impact a student’s eligibility for financial aid in future terms. Students should familiarize themselves with the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for federal aid and should contact the Office of Financial Aid regarding how federal and other types of aid may be impacted.

OSU has multiple sessions that do not span the entire length of our usual 11 week term. These shorter sessions are considered “modules” for federal financial aid purposes and these modules have unique rules that may impact federal aid eligibility.

A student may be considered withdrawn if they do not complete all days in the payment period they were scheduled to complete. For a student enrolled in sessions not spanning a full 11 week term, the payment period they are expected to complete is made up of the combined calendars for all sessions that they were paid aid on.

If a student drops courses in a future session while they are enrolled in a current session, they are not considered withdrawn from the term. An aid adjustment may be required for those drops but a Return of Title IV calculation would not be required.

A student who drops, withdraws from, or does not complete their current sessions, will be considered withdrawn from the term even if they are still enrolled in a future session. Students must monitor their student email for the survey request. Students will be required to submit that survey in order to verify their intent to participate in those future sessions. If this intent to participate survey is not received, a Return of Title IV Calculation must be done even if the student has successfully completed other coursework for the term and is enrolled in future sessions.

For courses in modules, the calendar used in the Return of Title IV funds calculation includes all days within the period that the student was scheduled to complete (including those completed by the student) prior to ceasing attendance. For example, a student enrolls in 2 summer sessions (session 2 spans 6/25-7/20 and session 5 spans 8/20-9/7). If they drop session 5 (a session that has not yet started) before they withdraw from session 2, we calculate using only the session 2 calendar. If they were still enrolled in session 5 when they withdraw from session 2, we calculate on both calendars combined. Calculating on the combined calendars may reduce the completion percentage which may increase the amount of funds that needs to be returned.

Below are 3 examples of how drops, withdrawals, and non-completion can impact aid in modules:

EX 1. Mary enrolls in 2 summer sessions (session 2 spans 6/25-7/20 and session 5 spans 8/20-9/7). She withdraws from session 2 on 6/1 and remains enrolled in session 5. In this case Mary will be considered withdrawn from the term if she does not complete the summer survey to confirm her intent to attend session 5. As long as Mary submits that survey and successfully completes session 5, a Return of Title IV calculation is not required.

EX 2. Joe enrolls in 2 summer sessions (session 2 spans 6/25-7/20 and session 5 spans 8/20-9/7). He receives a B grade in his session 2 course but, after that course had ended, decides he no longer wants to take the course in session 5. Joe had been paid federal aid with the expectation that he would complete the entire payment period that spanned both sessions. Because he decided not to complete session 5 after session 2 had ended, a Return of Title IV calculation is required and he may end up owing aid money back for the term.

EX 3. Barry enrolls in 2 summer sessions (session 2 spans 6/25-7/20 and session 5 spans 8/20-9/7). While enrolled his session 2 course he decides he no longer wants to take the course in session 5 and drops that course. Barry had been paid federal aid with the expectation that he would complete the entire payment period that spanned both sessions. Because he dropped his session 5 course while he was still attending session 2, a Return of Title IV Calculation is not required but his Pell Grant is still reduced for the session 5 course he never attended.

In cases of official and unofficial withdrawal an instructor reported last date of participation may be required to determine a student’s aid eligibility. The OSU Office of Financial Aid is not able to contact partner school instructors directly to obtain this information. After a term has ended DPP students may be contacted with instructions on how to complete this participation verification process. Due to the time sensitive nature of this process, it is very important for DPP students to check their OSU Student (ONID) email regularly to look for these financial aid notifications. Failure to verify participation may result in the reduction or full loss of financial aid eligibility for the term.

If you have loans reversed based on your withdrawal, there are some cases where we can move some or all of that loan eligibility to the following term. You must be attending at least halftime the following term of the same academic year, be meeting all federal financial aid requirements, and have enough room in your adjusted expected cost of attendance for the additional loans. Other limitations may also apply. You can request to increase your future term loans to the maximum amount by submitting an Enrollment Revision Form.