Graduate and Professional Withdrawal Guide

Return of Financial Aid—Federal Government Policy

The federal government awards Title IV program assistance (financial aid) with the assumption that a student will complete the courses for which aid is received. If a student receives a federal aid disbursement but fails to begin at least half-time attendance for the term, the student is not eligible for the aid. If a student withdraws or stops attending all courses in their term or does not complete all the sessions of a modular course schedule (e.g. Fall 1 and Fall 2), in some cases the student only earns a portion of the financial aid already received. APU is required by federal regulations to use a prescribed formula to calculate the earned and unearned portion of financial aid received, and then return the unearned aid back to the federal government.

The following formula is used to determine earned and unearned aid:

Percent earned = number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by total calendar days in the term (less any scheduled breaks that are at least 5 days long)

Percent unearned = 100% minus percent earned

If the student has attended long enough to earn 60% or more of the aid, no further calculation is needed and all the aid for the term is retained. If less than 60% was earned, the percentage of aid earned is then multiplied by the total amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed or was eligible to be disbursed for the term. The result is the amount of Title IV aid earned by the student.

Return of Federal Financial Aid Example

If there were 110 total days in the term and the student completed 24, the student would earn 21.8% of the Title IV aid received. (24/110 = 21.8)

Since the student earned less than 60% of their aid, the percentage earned must be multiplied by the total amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed or was eligible to be disbursed for the term. The student received the following Title IV aid:

Title IV aid
Unsubsidized Direct Federal Loan $5,970
Subsidized Direct Federal Loan $4,229
Total Aid $10,199

The calculation would be 21.8% x $10,199 = $2,223.38. The amount of the total aid received that the student earned is $2,223.38.

Next, the amount of aid earned is subtracted from the total amount of aid received to determine the amount that must be returned to the Title IV programs. Continuing our example, the calculation would be $10,199 – $2,223.38 = $7,975.62.

The regulations require APU to return a portion of the unearned aid. The amount is calculated by multiplying the percentage of unearned Title IV aid (100% – 21.8% = 78.2%) by the institutional charges for the term. For example, the student had the following institutional charges for the term:

Institutional Charges
Tuition $3,735
Room $0
Board $0
Total Charges $3,735

In this example, the calculation is $3,735 x 78.2% = $2,920.77. APU must return $2,920.77 of the student’s Title IV aid back to the programs. The school is required to repay the following sources in order, up to the total net amount disbursed from the source:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Federal Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
  • Other Title IV Programs

In this case, the entire $2,920.77 would be returned to the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan because the student originally received more than this amount from that source.

It is important to note the results of APU’s institutional policy and the return calculation will both affect the student’s account balance, but in no way are the policies connected or contingent upon each other.

While APU would be required to return $2,920.77 of the $7,975.62 unearned aid amount, the student would be responsible for the remainder. However, if the remaining portion was from aid originally awarded as loans, the student pays the remaining unearned aid according to the terms of the borrower promissory note of the loan. In most cases, repayment of a student loan begins 6 months after the student withdraws or ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

Modular Term Return Policy

The U.S. Department of Education has specific regulations that govern the return calculation for students enrolled in modular courses. Modular courses are defined as those that do not span the entire length of the term and are offered sequentially rather than concurrently (although it is possible for modules to overlap). At APU, Fall 1 and Fall 2 sessions, and others similar in structure, would be considered modules for financial aid purposes.

Regulations require the entire period and combination of modular courses to be considered when determining the portion of financial aid that has been earned by a student who withdraws. The student is considered withdrawn when he fails to complete the scheduled enrollment. At this point, the percentage of completion is calculated by dividing the number of completed days by the number of days the student was scheduled to attend. (Scheduled breaks of at least five days are omitted from the calculation.) The fact that a student completes at least one course is not a valid reason for not doing the calculation.

A student who withdraws from a current module but provides written confirmation of plans to return and attend a future module that begins within 45 days of the end of the current module is considered to still be enrolled.

If the student provides written confirmation but then fails to attend a future module, the student is considered withdrawn from the initial date of the original module.

If the student withdraws without a written confirmation to attend in the future but returns during the same period, the student is able to receive all funds for which the student has eligibility according to their current enrollment status.

Treatment of Unofficial Withdrawals

If a student fails to officially withdraw and receives a combination of all Fs, FNs, INs, and NCs as grades for the semester, the Department of Education considers the student to have unofficially withdrawn from classes. APU is required to investigate and determine when the student actually last attended class and then perform the required return calculation. If the date of withdrawal cannot be confirmed, the return calculation is done using a 50% completion rate. This process is usually completed after the end of the semester, once grades are submitted.

Return of Aid Withdrawal Exceptions

In some cases, a student who has withdrawn (officially or unofficially) may qualify for a Return of Aid Withdrawal Exception in the following scenarios. Adjustments to Pell Grant and other institutional aid may still be required based on actual enrollment

  • A student completed all the requirements for graduation from their program before the term ended
  • A student enrolls in both the 8 Week 1 and 8 week 2 modules (sessions) for a given term. They earn (a) passing grade(s) in 8 week 1 but then withdraw or fail to attend 8 week 2
  • A student successfully completed coursework equal to half time for the term and withdrew or failed to attend the other courses

APU Institutional Withdrawal/Refund Policy

APU’s graduate and professional institutional withdrawal policy is independent of, and in no way contingent upon, the federal government’s policy that must always be considered when a student totally withdraws from classes. The purpose of this section is to help you understand the difference between the institutional and federal policies and the consequences withdrawing may have upon your account and financial aid.

Official Withdrawal Process

The Student Services Center (SSC) Registrar’s office is responsible for the official withdrawal process from APU graduate and professional studies. Students with financial aid will have the opportunity to talk with a Student Account Specialist regarding the effect withdrawing will have upon their current aid eligibility. The process begins by completing the entire Enrollment Activity Form, also available at APU’s Student Services Center (SSC), and securing all the necessary signatures requested.

Withdrawal Refund Calculation

Students may drop a class until the Last Day to Register or Add/Drop Classes to receive 100% tuition refund. In the event a student withdraws from a class, APU’s refund of tuition will be made as follows (exceptions noted in separate tables):

APU’s Refund of Tuition
Through the Last Day to Register or Add/Drop 100% refund
After deadline, up to 24% of session 90% refund
25–39% of session 50% refund
40–59% of session 25% refund
60% of the session or greater 0% refund

Note: Tuition deposits and application fees are not refunded under any circumstances.

For students who are residing in the state of Oregon while enrolled in a program via distance education, refund of tuition will be made as follows:

Distance Education Refund of Tuition (Oregon)
Through the Last Day to Register or Add/Drop 100% refund
After deadline, up to 24% of session 90% refund
25–50% of session 50% refund
51-59% of session 25% refund
60% of the session or greater 0% refund

Note: Tuition deposits and application fees are not refunded under any circumstances.


Each year, a number of financial aid recipients are distressed to learn that their aid package is being reduced due to an overaward. As required, students must inform the Office of Graduate and Professional Student Financial Services of any outside aid awards or changes in their class load. This will save the frustration and inconvenience that may result from an overaward.

A student’s budget, as determined by APU using federal calculations, could reduce the total aid package. All institutional aid is subject to coordination with federal, state, and all other aid sources. All institutional aid is subject to the policies printed in the university catalog and any other printed materials. Availability of all aid is subject to federal, state, institutional, and private funding.

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