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What if I Withdraw?

The U.S. Department of Education has required institutions and students to repay or refund unearned student aid funds. Student aid may be considered unearned if a student withdraws completely during a term in which federal Title IV money was received.  Refund and repayment regulations specify, in complex formula, exactly how much is due back to the federal programs from the institution and/or the student. The Return of Funds calculation determines how much aid a student earned based on how many days the student attended classes. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships uses the date the student withdrew from MSU Denver to determine the date of withdrawal in the calculation. The definition of what constitutes a student’s withdrawal date is below.

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 adopted a new approach for the return of unearned federal funds. The new approach became law on October 7, 1998 and was implemented in the 2000/2001 year.

Federal Regulations require that all or a portion of a student's Title IV financial aid be returned to the appropriate aid program following the student's complete withdrawal from classes. Following withdrawal, any credit balance in the student's tuition and fees account will first be refunded to the aid programs from which funds were awarded. Any remaining credit balance will be refunded to the student. The student may owe the school money if funds were disbursed directly to the student.

For information on how to withdraw from your classes or to provide official notice of your intent to withdraw, please follow this link to the Office of the Registrar:

For important dates to consider for withdraw and tuition refund policy, please visit this Bursar Office webpage:


Schools have certain responsibilities if a student with Title IV funds

  • Officially Withdraws
  • Drops Out
  • Is Expelled
  • Unofficially Withdraws
  • Takes an unapproved leave of absence
  • Fails to return from an approved leave of absence

A student's withdrawal date is

  • The date the student began the institution's withdrawal process or officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw OR
  • The midpoint of the period for a student who leaves without notifying the institution OR
  • The student's last date of attendance at a documented academically related activity
  • Oral notification may be acceptable if the institution has acceptable documentation to verify the intent to withdraw

A student is considered an unofficial withdrawal

  • If the student does not officially withdraw from classes and stops attending all classes. A pro-rated portion of the federal aid received, based on the documented last day of attendance, must be returned to the federal aid programs (Return of Title IV Funds calculation).  If the school is unable to document the last day of attendance, then the institution will use the mid-point of the term as the last day of attendance.
    • Please note: If all of your final grades post as “F”, “F#”, “U”, “UE”, “U#”, "CC”, "DW", "SN", "I", "AW", "W" and/or “NC”, by Federal regulation we are required to assume you unofficially withdrew. Your earned aid will be calculated based upon 50% attendance of the term, thus, you have earned only 50% of your total aid and you must repay all or a portion of your unearned federal aid. You must repay a portion or all of your unearned federal aid.

The Office of Financial Aid's responsibilities in regard to the return of Title IV funds follow

  • Providing students with the information given in this policy
  • Identifying students who are affected by this policy and completing the Return of Title IV Funds calculation for those students
  • Returning any Title IV funds programs within the timeline specific to these policies. The school has 45 days to return and process Return of Funds calculations from the date the student withdrew or when the school was notified that the student has withdrawn. For students who unofficially withdrew, the 45 days begins when final grades post at the end of the semester.

The student's responsibility in regard to the return of Title IV funds include

  • Returning to the Title IV programs any funds that were disbursed to the student and which the student was determined to be ineligible for via the Return of Title IV Funds calculation
  • Withdrawal does not eliminate the student’s financial responsibility to the university. The student is responsible for any charges owed to MSU Denver, including any billing that was conducted through the Return of Title IV calculation.
  • If a student withdraws and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships verifies that the student never attended their courses, 100% of all aid will be billed for that semester.

Return of Title IV funds to the Federal government will be in the following order

  • Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  • Subsidized Direct Loan
  • Direct PLUS Loan
  • Federal PELL Grant
  • TEACH Grant
  • Federal SEOG

Post-Withdrawal Disbursements

A student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement based on certain eligibility requirements and the Return of Funds calculation. Written authorizations to disburse any Federal Stafford loans will be sent along with the amount and any additional steps that need to be taken by the borrower. The student has 14 days from the date of the notification to confirm that they would like the school to make a post-withdrawal disbursement. 

Summer Semester

In addition to a complete withdrawal or unofficial withdrawal for Return of Title IV purposes, the summer semester at MSU Denver has several parts of terms, or, different start and end dates for classes. Therefore, federal regulations have mandated separate policies regarding classes that begin and end at different times during the course of a semester. A Return of Title IV calculation may be done even if a student passes one course but fails to complete another and the student may be billed because he did not attend the entire duration of the courses for which he registered.

For example, if a student registered for two courses that ran consecutively and are 4 weeks long each and he withdraws on day 13 of the second course, a Return of Title IV calculation must be performed because he did not attend the entire 8 weeks of both courses, even though the student completed the first class. If the student completes the first course but did not establish attendance in the second course, no Return of Title IV calculation will be performed, however, his financial aid will be adjusted and prorated based on the number of credit hours the student actually attended which can result in a bill and a balance due to MSU Denver. If both classes began and ended at the same time and he successfully passes one class, a Return of Title IV calculation will not be performed and no billing will occur.

Study Abroad

For students traveling abroad it is very important to have your transcripts sent to MSU Denver within 30 days after completion of the semester abroad. If we received information that you have not completed any of your courses or never received transcripts, you will be subjected to the Return of Title IV funds process for the semester traveling abroad. 

Your financial aid will likely be delayed the semester following your study abroad term.  The Office of Financial Aid cannot calculate your release your unofficial withdrawal hold until your official academic transcript from the study abroad program has been received and reviewed by the University.  All financial aid will be held until this transcript has been evaluated.  You may submit an unofficial transcript to our office but that does not guarantee that we can update your status and release your financial aid.  

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