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Return of Title IV Federal Student Financial Aid Funds Policy

Recipients of federal financial aid are expected to enroll and complete courses for the term in which aid is awarded and/or disbursed. If a student who has received federal financial aid fails to begin attending class, the processed federal financial aid is unearned and must be canceled.

Similarly, when a recipient of federal financial aid funds withdraws from the university during a period of enrollment (i.e. semester) in which the recipient began attendance, the institution must determine the amount of federal loan or grant assistance that the student earned as of the student's withdrawal date or date of last academic attendance. The withdrawal may be official or unofficial. Unofficial withdrawal status is assigned (for purposes of the return of federal financial aid funds) to students who earn no passing grade for the period of enrollment and whose official withdrawal was not processed while the period of enrollment was in session.

The percentage of aid that has been earned by the student is equal to the percentage of the semester that the student completed as of the student's withdrawal date. If this date occurs after the completion of 60% of the semester, the student is considered to have earned 100% of the federal grant and/or loan assistance for the semester. In cases where a student ceases attendance without providing official notification to the university of his or her withdrawal from the university and/or academic attendance information from instructor/s made available to the financial aid office in a timely fashion, the institution must consider the midpoint of the semester as the date of withdrawal for purposes of the return of federal financial aid.

If the total amount of federal grant or loan assistance, or both, that the student earned is less than the amount of federal grant or loan assistance that was disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student in the case of a PLUS loan, the difference between these amounts must be returned to the federal aid programs within 45 days of the date the financial aid office was made aware of the withdrawal. The amounts of unearned federal aid must be returned regardless of whether the student is eligible to receive a refund of a portion of university fees, such as tuition, fees, or room and board fees.

The amount to be returned to the federal student financial aid accounts will be returned to the programs from which the student received aid up to the amount of aid disbursed in the following priority order: Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan, Subsidized Federal Direct Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, Federal Parent PLUS Loans received on behalf of the student, Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (IASG), Federal SEOG grant, and TEACH grant.

If the total amount of federal grant or loan assistance, or both, that the student earned is greater than total amount of federal grant and/or loan assistance that was disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student, as of the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew, the difference between these amounts must be treated as a post-withdrawal disbursement. If federal loan funds are used to credit a post withdrawal disbursement, the university must provide the student, or parent in the case of a PLUS loan, the opportunity to cancel all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement. The university has 30 days to provide this notice to the student or parent. The student or parent must respond to the notice within 14 days of the date the institution sent the notification. If the student or parent does not respond, the university cannot make a post withdrawal disbursement of federal loan funds.

After determining the return of funds to federal student financial aid, any amounts of institutional refunds in excess of the amount of aid returned to the federal aid accounts will be returned to the Syracuse University aid accounts up to the amount of Syracuse University aid disbursed. Any remaining amounts of refund left over are then returned to the student and his/her family.