Please contact the Business Office before making a decision to withdraw. We can complete the recalculation process to determine the unearned portion of the financial aid that must be returned and explain how it will affect you financially.

How does a withdrawal affect my financial aid?

Federal regulation requires financial aid to be awarded under the assumption that a student will attend the institution for the entire period in which federal assistance was disbursed. The following policies will help you to understand that a withdrawal can not only affect you academically, but also financially. We encourage you to read all the information below prior to making a final decision.

What are "earned" and "unearned" aid?

During the first 60% of the term, you "earn" Title IV funds in direct proportion to the length of time you remain enrolled. If you remain enrolled beyond the 60% point, you earn all the aid for that period. "Unearned aid" is federal financial aid that you have accepted but not yet earned by attending for a full term.

What if I apply for financial aid and never attend class?

If you receive financial aid, but never begin attending classes, the Financial Aid office must return all disbursed funds to the respective federal and institutional aid programs.

How is the amount of unearned aid determined?

The university is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out or are dismissed prior to completing 60% of a semester. The "Return of Title IV Funds" formula dictates the amount of Title IV aid that must be returned to the federal government by WCU and by you. The percentage of Title IV aid to be returned—the unearned aid—equals the number of calendar days you completed in the term divided by the total number of calendar days in the term. Unless you complete 60% of the term in which federal aid was disbursed, you may be required to repay all or part of the financial aid that you accepted.

Who is responsible for repaying unearned aid?

Although the university must return the unearned portion of your financial aid to the federal government, you are responsible to repay the university any funds that are returned after you pickup your check from the business office. This could result in your owing aid funds to the university, the government, or both. The university must calculate and return unearned Title IV funds no later than 30 days after the date of withdrawal or when a student stops attending class.

Repayment to Federal Programs

Federal regulation requires that the following federal Title IV aid programs offered to students be subject to the repayment calculation in the following order if a student withdraws before completing at least 60% of the term:

  • Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loans
  • Federal Stafford Subsidized Loans
  • Perkins Loan
  • Federal PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Other Grants (SMART, ACG, TEACH)
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
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