How does a withdrawal affect my financial aid?

We understand that unexpected events occur in life that will cause a student to withdraw from The University of South Carolina Beaufort.  However, 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 your final decision.

Important: USCB's tuition/fee refund policy is separate from the federal regulation to repay unearned aid. Whether or not you receive a tuition/fee refund has no bearing on the amount you must repay to the federal aid programs. Contact the Bursar's Office for further inquiries regarding tuition/fee refunds.

Student Fails to Begin Attendance
If the student receives financial aid, but never begins attending classes, the Office of Financial Aid/VA must return all disbursed funds to the respective federal and institutional aid programs.

Student Fails to Earn a Passing Grade in any Class
If the student has not completely withdrawn but has failed to earn a passing grade in at least one class for the term, federal regulations require the school to determine whether the student established eligibility for financial aid by attending at least one class or participating in any University academic-related activity.  All or portion of disbursed funds must be returned to the respective federal and institutional aid programs if the student cannot prove that he/she began attendance.

Students in Hargray Hallway

Types of Withdrawals

For financial aid purposes there are two types of withdrawals: complete and unofficial.

  • Complete: Official withdrawal from the University by the student. The current academic year’s policy for a Complete Withdrawal can be found in The USCB’s Academic Bulletin – Changes In Registration – Withdrawing from the University section.
  • Unofficial: Federal financial aid regulations consider a student to be an unofficial withdrawal if the student receives a combination of all fail (F) and withdraw (W) grades for the term.

Return to Title IV Policy

The federal government mandates that students who withdraw from all classes prior to completing 60% of the term in accordance with the Return to Title IV Federal Funds regulations may only keep the financial aid that they have "earned" up to the time of withdrawal. Title IV funds that have been disbursed in excess of the earned amount must be returned by the university and/or the student to the federal government. Thus the student could owe aid funds to the university, the government, or both.

To determine the amount of aid the student has earned up to the time of withdrawal, the Office of Financial Aid/VA divides the number of calendar days the student has attended classes by the total number of calendar days in the semester (minus any scheduled breaks of 5 days or more). The resulting percentage is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed to the student for the semester.

The unearned federal aid is returned to the Federal government based on the following formula: 100% - (minus) percent of aid earned x (times) the amount of aid disbursed toward institutional charges. When Federal aid is unearned, students may owe an additional debit balance beyond what has been captured during the refund process. If an additional debit balance is owed, students will be notified by the Financial Aid/VA Office in writing and will receive a bill from the Bursar's Office. Additionally, a student may need to repay Title IV funds that they receive over direct costs. If so, another invoice along with an Agreement to Repay will be mailed, and students will be given approximately 10 days to respond. A letter from the Financial Aid/VA Office will accompany the Agreement to Repay. Students may either pay the balance in full or make arrangements to pay the balance. Should students fail to respond, repay, or enter into an agreement to repay; the amount owed will be referred to the Department of Education for collection.

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reimburse the individual federal programs from which the student received the aid. Financial aid returned (by the university and/or the student or parent) must be returned, in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Federal Perkins Loan
  4. Federal Direct PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) Loan
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  7. Other Federal Loan or Grant Assistance

These policies are effective only if a student completely terminates enrollment (i.e., cancels his/her registration, withdraws, or is dismissed) or stops attending classes. Students whose circumstances require that they withdraw from all classes are strongly encouraged to contact Office of Financial Aid/VA and their academic advisor before doing so. At that time, the consequences of withdrawing from all classes can be explained in more detail.  Also, students should speak with the Registrar’s Office regarding withdrawal procedures.

Other Financial Aid Policies Affected by a Withdrawal

A student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to continue to receive federal financial assistance. If a student received financial aid, and completely withdrew from the term in which assistance was awarded, the student will not be eligible to receive future aid from the University. However, if unusual circumstances interfered with a student’s ability to meet SAP standards, he or she may complete a SAP Appeal Form and submit it to the Office of Financial/VA. The appeal will be reviewed by the University’s SAP Committee.

Exit Loan Counseling

Exit interviews are required before leaving the University of South Carolina Beaufort for all students who withdraw or stop attending classes and have received Direct or Perkins loans. Exit interviews can be completed online at: Studentloans.gov

Important:  Anytime a student is enrolled less than part-time the grace period begins.  If the student is not enrolled part-time for more than 6 months, the loans will go into repayment.  The student must contact their lender to make payment arrangements.