Return of Title IV

Return of Title IV (Federal) Financial Aid

According to the amended Higher Education Act of 1998, federal law requires students to complete the term for which they received federal funding. If you withdraw from all your classes, stop attending all your classes, or did not successfully complete any classes, your college is required to calculate how much of the semester you did attend and determine how much of the federal funds you “earned.” You will be required to repay any unearned federal funds received.

Official Withdrawals

Students who withdraw from classes during a term from all their classes on or before the 60% payment period, measured in calendar days, owe a portion of unearned funds back to the federal government.

Unofficial Withdrawals

Students who stop attending all their classes prior to the 60% payment period or if the professor reports that they began attendance, but can’t determine if the student stopped before the 60% point of the semester, will be evaluated as “unofficially withdrew” from classes.

Federal Law requires the return of Title IV funds in the following order:

    • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
    • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
    • Federal Direct Plus Loan
    • Federal Pell Grant
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
    • Federal Teach Grants

The calculation of earned funds

The calculation is determined by the last date of enrollment and/or your last date of academic activity reported by the instructor, which determines how much aid you have earned. The date determines how much you must repay if you do not complete any of your classes.


If a student has completed 30% of the term, he or she has earned 30% of the aid originally scheduled to be received. Upon completing more than 60% of the term, the student has earned all his or her federal aid. Repayment of Title IV funds will be required when aid has been disbursed to a student from financial aid funds more than the amount of aid the student earned during the term.


Date of Withdrawal#of Days of Class Attend#Days in Semester%Completed% of Refund to DOE



The responsibility for returning unearned funds is shared between the College and the student. The amount is calculated according to the portion of disbursed aid that could have been used to cover institutional charges and the portion that could have been disbursed directly to the student once institutional charges were covered. Polk State College will distribute the institutional portion of the unearned funds back to the Title IV program specified by law. The student will be notified of his or her portion due back to the various programs.

The student will also be notified of any balance due to the College, which will require repayment immediately to avoid collection actions. Polk State College will notify the Department of Education of all amounts due from the student. It is the student’s responsibility to plan for repayment with the Department of Education. Failure to do so will result in the student being ineligible to receive future Title IV funding.

Consider before withdrawing

All students receiving any federal funding are encouraged to visit the Office of Student Financial Services and receive individual counseling from a Financial Aid Assistant before withdrawing from or stopping attendance of any classes.

Keep in mind, dropping or withdrawing from a course can affect one or more of the following:

    • Your financial aid: there could be financial penalties
    • Your full-time status for health or automobile insurance
    • Your timeline for graduation in the future
    • Your tuition. How many times have you attempted this course? (Withdrawing counts as an attempt for SAP purposes.) Your tuition for the 3rd attempt may cost you extra per credit hour.

Instead of dropping/withdrawing, consider:

    • Taking fewer classes next semester
    • Talking to your instructor
    • Tutoring services or personal support services

Students will be notified of how much is required to be repaid. If the debt is left unpaid, the Student Financial Services will notify the U.S. Department of Education 45 days after payment is required to repay debt. If unpaid, a National Hold will be placed on your aid eligibility. After the Hold is placed, you will be required to contact DOE for payment. Polk State College does not have the authority to waive or write off the repayment requirement, regardless of the reason for the withdrawal, including extenuating circumstances such as illness, accident, or personal loss.