The return of Title IV funds is a complex process involving a great deal of interoffice cooperation and coordination. Title IV funds are awarded to eligible students under the assumption that they will attend Linfield for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. Only students who have withdrawn from all classes in a payment period are subject to the return of Title IV formula. If a student changes their enrollment status, such as drops courses but is still enrolled for at least one course they would not be subject to the return of Title IV funds formula, but would be subject to the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy or Linfield will recalculate the student’s eligibility for Pell Grant and Campus-Based funds based on a revised enrollment status and cost of education. Linfield College is an institution not required to take attendance. Linfield confirms enrollment at the census date, which is the last day to withdraw without a “W” grade. If a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds withdraws from Linfield after beginning attendance, the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance earned by the student must be determined.
The following list is of financial aid programs, Title IV, to which the Return of Title IV funds requirement applies. The financial aid programs are listed in order that the school must return per the federal formula:
Linfield determines the date the student withdrew depending on the type of withdrawal. If the student begins the official withdrawal process or provides official notification to Linfield of his or her intent to withdraw the date Linfield determines that the student withdrew would be the date the student began the official withdrawal process, or the date of the student’s notification, whichever is later. If the student did not begin the official withdrawal process or provide notification of his or her intent to withdraw, the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew would be the date that Linfield becomes aware that the student ceased attendance. If Linfield is informed that a student has died, the withdrawal date is determined either by the official notification from the student, if they had started an official withdrawal process due to illness or accident, etc. prior to the death, or the withdrawal date is the date that Linfield determines is related to that circumstance if no official withdrawal was initiated. The withdrawal date will be no later than the date of the student’s death. Linfield does not disburse post-withdrawal disbursements to a student that has died during the payment period. The Registrar’s Office notifies the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) via the National Student Loan Clearinghouse of enrollment changes.
The Registrar’s Office is the designated contact point for students who wish to withdraw. Students complete the Add/Drop Online Form process in their WebAdvisor portal and the information is electronically submitted to the Registrar’s Office upon submission. The student indicates the reason for the withdrawal and from which courses they are withdrawing. The Registrar’s Office determines the withdrawal date and reports it to the other affected institutional offices via email.
When the Office of Financial Aid receives notification from the Registrar’s Office that the student has withdrawn from all of their courses in one semester, the Office of Financial Aid begins the Return of Title IV funds process to calculate the amount of federal financial aid programs the student has earned. Students who have received Federal Direct Stafford Loans are provided an Exit Counseling letter. Students will be notified of their revised award letter, and they will also receive a Satisfactory Academic Progress warning letter and policy. In some cases, students may receive an email from the Office of Financial Aid providing the student with information about the aid they earned, and if they would like to keep it or have Linfield return it on their behalf to the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program, specifically for post-withdrawal disbursements.
At the census date, if the Registrar’s Office determines that a student never began attendance, because they did not have regular and substantive interaction by the census date, the Registrar’s Office notifies the student that if they do not submit an appeal to their office within 2 weeks, that an Administrative Withdrawal (AW) will be placed on their transcripts. If the Office of Financial Aid receives notice that the student never began attendance, the students financial aid is cancelled, and no Return of Title IV Funds calculation is required, because the student did not earn any aid.
Upon receipt of an email from the Registrar’s Office that the student is no longer enrolled, or if the institution becomes aware that the student is no longer attending, and the student did not begin the official withdrawal process or provide notification of his or her intent to withdraw, the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew would be the date that Linfield becomes aware that the student ceased attendance. As soon as the Office of Financial becomes aware, and the student did begin attendance and had regular and substantive interaction, the Office of Financial Aid gathers the student's information to complete the Return of Title IV Funds calculation to determine the amount of federal financial aid programs the student has earned.
Office of Financial Aid Process for Calculating the Return of Title IV Funds
In order for the Office of Financial Aid to determine if there is a return of Title IV funds for the student, the Office of Financial Aid collects the student’s information for the payment period, which includes original direct costs at Linfield for the payment period from the Student Account, the date of determination of the withdrawal date from the Registrar’s Office, the federal financial aid programs that have been disbursed or could have been disbursed to the student from the Student Account and from the AIDE screen in Colleague. With these documents the Office of Financial Aid utilizes the federal return of Title IV funds online program at FAA Access, https://faaaccess.ed.gov/FOTWWebApp/faa/faa.jsp, to calculate and manage the return of Title IV funds for the student. The Office of Financial Aid annually sets up the academic calendar, costs, and enrollment status for OCE programs within the online federal return of Title IV funds program at FAA Access.
When a student withdraws after the 60% point of their payment period, they have earned 100% of their federal financial aid funds and there is no money to return because the student has earned 100% of the Title IV funds he or she was scheduled to receive during the payment period. If the student earns equal to or less than 60% the student is subject to the return of Title IV funds calculation. The Office of Financial Aid determines the amount the student earned, which is based on a prorata schedule based on what the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. The return of Title IV funds calculation determines the amount of federal financial aid the student earned, the amount the student did not earn, the amount the student might have to repay, the amount the school must return, if a student is owed a post-withdrawal disbursement, and if the student owes a repayment.
After completion of the calculation online the Office of Financial Aid is responsible for ensuring the proper amounts are returned to the appropriate Title IV programs in a timely manner. The Office of Financial Aid returns funds from Colleague to COD as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after the date it determines that the student withdrew. All returns of federal student aid grants and Direct Loan funds previously disbursed are made through the G5 system by the Accounts Payable Office.
The Office of Financial Aid collaborates with the Student Accounts/Cashier office to not release a Title IV credit balance when a student withdraws until the Office of Financial aid performs the Return of Title IV Funds calculation, the Linfield refund policy has been applied, and any Title IV credit balance is allocated to repay any grant overpayment owed by the student as a result of the current withdrawal. Linfield returns such funds to the Title IV grant account within 14 days of the date Linfield performs the Return of Title IV funds calculation. Linfield releases the remaining credit balance to the student, parent for a PLUS loan, or back to the Title IV loan debt with student’s authorization.
The Office of Financial Aid will notify the student of his or her obligation to repay funds, tracks the repayment, whether a repayment agreement will be offered and monitored by Linfield as well as the timing responsibility for referring overpayment to ED for any amount over $50. Acceptable methods of payment for paying funds under an agreement with Linfield to the Student Accounts/Cashier Office would be in the form of cash, personal check, cashier’s check, money order or through the Gateway payment system through Tuition Management System (TMS) for student’s wanting to utilize credit card or debit card for payment.
Student Accounts/Cashier places holds that will be placed on the student’s school records or account, and is authorized to release them once the student’s obligation has been satisfied.
The Office of Financial Aid will record the student’s obligation to repay an overpayment in NSLDS and will monitor, update and notify the student.
The Office of Financial Aid offers the student any earned post-withdrawal disbursement. Students are notified via their Linfield College email and responses are due within two weeks upon notification. If the student does not respond in the two-week time frame the Office of Financial Aid will return funds according to the return of Title IV funds results. If timing will not allow for a two-week response time frame from the student, the Office of Financial Aid will make all attempts to contact the student as quickly as possible, including phone calls. Linfield complies with the post-withdrawal disbursement time frames and disburses any Title IV grant funds a student is due within 30 days of the date the school determined the student withdrew, and disburses any loan funds a student accepts within 180 days of that date.
The Office of Financial Aid provides the student with a revised award letter showing the adjusted financial aid for the payment period the student withdrew, and encloses additional information which includes the following. If the student borrowed Stafford loans, Exit Counseling information is provided. The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy is mailed and e-mailed to the student’s Linfield email account with a letter of explanation regarding the student’s SAP status.