Video: What if I withdraw from school?

If you withdraw from school

(Scroll down this page for a detailed explanation of how the college determines how much you might have to repay, and for an FAQ with examples of this process.)

Federal regulations require that students who withdraw from school – meaning they have withdrawn from all classes – before completing 60 percent of the quarter may have to repay all or a portion of the federal “Title IV” financial aid funds that have been disbursed to them.

At De Anza College, these repayment provisions apply to the Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Direct Student Loans.

The repayment process – known as “Return to Title IV” or R2T4 – involves two separate payments.

Portion A, or the Student Return

Portion A must be returned by the student to the U.S. Department of Education. A student will not be eligible to receive financial aid at any postsecondary institution until this amount is repaid.

  • The student has 45 days to repay this amount in full to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District business services office.
  • After 45 days, the outstanding debt will be referred to the U.S. Department of Education debt collection agency. Repayment must then be arranged with the U.S. Department of Education. 

Portion B, or the Institutional Return

Portion B must be returned by the college to the U.S. Department of Education.

  • The college will treat this amount as a charge against the student’s account at De Anza.
  • A student may be able to receive additional federal aid while this charge is pending against the student account at De Anza, but the college may block the student from enrolling in classes, accessing transcripts or receiving grades.

The following notice explains how the college determines the amount of federal financial aid funds must be repaid in these circumstances. It also serves to disclose required student consumer information.

Treatment of Title IV Financial Aid When A Student Withdraws

Federal law specifies how De Anza College must calculate the amount of Title IV funds that you have earned, and any amount that you may have to return, if you withdraw from school. The Title IV financial aid funds covered by this law are Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Direct Student Loans.

When you withdraw during a period of enrollment or during your payment period, the amount of Title IV funds that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received less financial aid than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive the additional funds. If you received more aid than you earned, then you or the college must return the excess amount to the federal government.

How Your "Amount Earned" Is Calculated

The amount you have earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if you completed 30 percent of your payment period or period of enrollment, you have earned 30 percent of the aid that you were scheduled to receive.

Under the law, if you complete more than 60 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment, you will be treated as having earned the full amount of aid that you were scheduled to receive for that period.

If the Calculation Results in a Credit Balance

If the calculation results in a credit balance, the credit balance will be disbursed no later than 14 days after the calculation.

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement.

The college is permitted to credit a student’s account with the post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV grant funds to cover current outstanding allowable charges, without the student’s permission, for tuition, fees and room and board (if the student contracts with the school). The college must credit the student’s account with the post-withdrawal disbursement for current charges within 180 days of the date of determination.

To cover charges other than current charges, the college must obtain a student’s authorization to credit a student’s account with Title IV grant funds. The college is permitted to use a student’s authorization for crediting the student’s account for educationally related expenses that the college obtained prior to the student’s withdrawal date, so long as the cash management requirements for student authorizations are met. If the college did not obtain authorization prior to the student’s withdrawal, the college would have to obtain authorization in accordance with the cash management requirements before the college could credit the student’s account for other current charges or for educationally related activities. 

For any amount of a post-withdrawal grant disbursement not credited to the student’s account to cover allowable charges, the college must make the disbursement as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date of the college’s determination that the student withdrew. (No confirmation from the student is required.)

The college may not delay its disbursement processes while it ascertains whether a student wishes to receive the grant funds he or she is entitled to. However, while the college is processing the disbursement or notifying the student about his or her eligibility for a post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds, the school may, at its discretion, notify the student that it may be beneficial to turn down all or a portion of the grant funds to preserve grant eligibility for attendance at another institution. Of course, if the student independently contacts the school and states that he or she does not wish to receive a grant disbursement, the school is not required to send it.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement of Title IV Loan Funds

The college must notify a student, or parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, in writing, prior to making any post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, regarding whether those loan funds are to be credited to the student’s account or disbursed directly to the student (or parent).

The information provided in this notification must include the information necessary for the student, or parent for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, to make an informed decision as to whether the student or parent would like to accept any disbursement of loan funds and must be provided within 30 days of the date of a school’s determination that a student has withdrawn. In addition, the notice must request confirmation of any post-withdrawal disbursement that the student or parent, as applicable, wishes the school to make. 

If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes student loan funds, you may choose to decline the student loan funds so that you do not incur additional student loan debt.

De Anza College may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement (including student loan funds, if you accept them) for any tuition and fees that you owe. For other charges, the college needs your permission to use the post-withdrawal disbursement. If you do not give your permission, you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow De Anza College to apply the funds to your student account in order to reduce any charges that you owe the college.

There are some instances when you may be scheduled to receive Title IV funds but the money cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw, because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year student and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not earn any Direct Loan funds that you would have received if you had remained enrolled past the 30th day.

How Funds Are Returned to the Government

If you received excess Title IV funds that must be returned to the federal government, the college must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of

Your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds


The entire amount of excess funds

The college must return this amount even if it didn't keep this amount of your Title IV funds.

If the college is not required to return all of the excess funds, then you must return the remaining amount.

  • If that includes any student loan funds, you must repay that amount in accordance with the terms of your loan promissory notes. In other words, you must make the scheduled payments to the lender or holder of the loan over a period of time.
  • Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds that you received or were scheduled to receive. You must make arrangements with De Anza College or with the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.

The requirements for Title IV funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that De Anza College may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the college to cover unpaid institutional charges. The college may also charge you for any Title IV funds that the college was required to return.

Time Frame and Priority for Returning Funds

There are guidelines for the time frame and the order in which Title IV funds must be returned.

De Anza College must return unearned funds for which it is responsible as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days from the determination of a student's withdrawal. The time frame for the return of Title IV funds is based on the whether the student has made an official or unofficial notification of withdrawal.

Official Withdrawals

Official Withdrawals: The date used to determine the percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment completed – and therefore, the amount of aid a student has earned – is not necessarily the same as the date a student gives notice of withdrawal. A student’s withdrawal date is used to determine the percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment completed and, therefore, the amount of aid a student has earned. The date that the student withdrew is determined by consulting a variety of reports from the college's student information system to calculate the Return of Title IV funds.  

Unofficial Withdrawals

Unofficial Withdrawals: When there is no notification or official withdrawal by the student, the withdrawal date is based on the date that the college becomes aware that the student has ceased attendance. If the student does not officially drop classes and receives a combination of  W’s, FW’s and F’s or NPs grades for all courses in a term, it will be considered an unofficial withdrawal, even if the student was enrolled in the course for the entire term. The percentage of Title IV funds that the student earns, based on the student’s withdrawal date, will depend on the classes each student takes.  The percentage is calculated as the number of days the student is enrolled divided by the number of total days in their payment period.  

The college may always consider the student's withdrawal date to be the student's last date of attendance at an academically related activity, if the college documents that the activity is academically related and that the student attended the activity.

For a student who withdraws without providing notification to the college, the college must determine the withdrawal date no later than 30 days after the end of the earliest of these:

  • The payment period or period of enrollment (as appropriate)
  • The academic year
  • The educational program

Order of Return of Title IV Funds 

A school must return Title IV funds to the programs from which the student received aid during the payment period or period of enrollment as applicable, in the following order, up to the net amount disbursed from each source: 

  1. Unsubsidized Direct Loans (other than Direct PLUS Loans) 
  2. Subsidized Direct Loans 
  3. Direct PLUS Loans (parent or graduate) 
  4. Federal Pell Grants for which a return of Title IV funds is required 
  5. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, for which a return of Title IV funds is required 
  6. FSEOG for which a return of Title IV funds is required 
  7. TEACH Grants for which a return of Title IV funds is required 

(Under final regulations dated Sept. 2, 2020, the order of return of Title IV funds was slightly modified with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.)

For More Information

If you have questions about your Title IV federal financial aid, you may call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (800.433.3243). TTY users may call 800.730.8913. Information is also available on the Federal Student Aid  website.

Examples, Questions and Answers

  • What happens to my awarded grant funds if I withdraw from all my classes?

  • Do I need to notify the Financial Aid Office if I withdraw from school?

  • How does the Financial Aid Office calculate how much I owe back?

  • Do I still need to repay my loan if I withdraw from De Anza College?

  • Can I keep my work-study job if I withdraw from the college?

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