Return of Title IV funds

1.    Overview 

This policy applies only to eligible US and non-US citizens receiving Title IV Funding (W D Ford Federal Direct Loans). If a student who is in receipt of Title IV Financial Aid withdraws, suspends studies for more than 180 days, or drops below half-time attendance the University of Leeds must determine whether any funds must be returned to the US Federal Aid programme. This determination will be made in accordance with the Return of Title IV (R2T4) Aid requirements of section 484B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) and CFR 34 668.22 of the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations. The Return of Title IV Aid requirements were added to the HEA by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (Public Law 105-244, enacted October 7, 1998). 

These requirements prescribe how Title IV funds must be treated when a Title IV student aid recipient withdraws from an institution without completing the payment period or period of enrolment, as appropriate. 

The amount of Title IV funds the student may have to return as “unearned” financial aid a result of withdrawal from the University is independently calculated to any refund of fees charged by the University following a student's withdrawal from a programme. 

2.    Payment of Fees and Cooling-off Period

Students are solely responsible for the prompt and full payment of their fees. The University of Leeds aims to treat students fairly and to provide them with a high standard of service. 

If a student leaves their course within 14 days of registration, there will be no charge for tuition, this applies to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The date used to determine this will be the date on the University leavers form, it is therefore essential that the student follows the leavers procedure appropriately. This is known as the cooling-off period.

Charging of fees following the cooling-off period will be as follows:

•    Undergraduates: charged weekly on a pro rata basis
•    Postgraduates: charged pro rata on a monthly basis

3.    Update of Personal Information 

It is the student’s responsibility to make the university aware of any change in circumstances, including any legal name change, marital status or home address. Changes to a student’s personal circumstances may affect their US loan eligibility. The Student Portal (Minerva) can be used to update personal information. Any name changes would need to be evidenced for example by provision of a marriage certificate. 

4.    Non Attendance 

If a student never registers at the university at the start of the course, we would not class the student as eligible student for Federal Title IV Financial Aid and would not request the disbursement of any such funds. At the point where a student confirms, or the University determines, non-attendance; the loan will be cancelled. 

5.    Withdrawal procedure

Students wishing to withdraw should follow the leavers process as described on the University of Leeds website for taught or research students.

(a)    Approved Leave of Absence 

Under Federal regulation 34 CFR 668.22(d), students can take an approved leave of absence up to 180 days before the student goes into repayment or has to return unearned Title IV funds. If a student does not return after 180 days the last day of actual attendance will be used to calculate the ‘earned’ loan amount and the date the student enters repayment. 

Re-entry to the institution following absence on the grounds of health may necessitate confirmation from a health practitioner that a student is fit to return to study. Please note that any interruption of the period of study for a Tier 4 visa student may have Visa implications and students should seek advice from the International Student Office

(b)    Process for withdrawal 

The offices responsible for recording of withdrawal data on the student record differ depending on if the student is considered taught or research: 

•    Student Operations (For all Taught students): Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students who decide to leave University permanently must follow the leavers process as described here.
•    Doctoral College (For all Research students): Research students can obtain the form here

(c)    Withdrawal Date Determination (last date of attendance) 

The withdrawal date, for the purposes of this policy, is the date used by the institution to determine the ‘earned’ and ‘unearned’ amounts of Title IV funds. This is used as part of the Return of Title IV funds calculation.

•    Official Withdrawal: The official withdrawal date is the date of last attendance captured as part of the leavers process.
•    Unofficial withdrawal: A student who has expressed their intent to withdraw verbally but has not completed a Leavers Form, or a student who withdraws without any notification, shall be deemed a self-withdrawal. The withdrawal date is determined by the student’s Faculty based on last known actual attendance date, submitted assessment date or the date of the last examination undertaken. In the case of an accident or injury the date the incident occurred can be taken as the withdrawal date. 

6.    Return of Title IV Funds Calculation 

Federal regulation 34 CFR 668.22(e) specifies how the University of Leeds must calculate the amount of Federal Stafford funding that students have earnt up to the point of withdraw from the University. 

In the event of a student withdrawing prior to completing 60% of the payment period they are currently in a student would be deemed to have not "earned" all of their Federal Aid and a Return of Title IV funds calculation must be performed. 100% of the period being the period from the disbursement of a loan instalment to the date of the next disbursement.

CFR 34 668.22(f)(2)(i) states that the 60% calculation is, ‘[t]he total number of calendar days in a payment period or period of enrolment includes all days within the period that the student was scheduled to complete, except that scheduled breaks of at least five consecutive days are excluded from the total number of calendar days in a payment period or period of enrolment and the number of calendar days completed in that period’. Students would also not be ‘scheduled to complete’ study on the following types of days

•    University closed days lasting longer than 5 consecutive days
•    Industrial action/strike days 

For undergraduates this also includes: 

•    Seasonal holidays such as Christmas and Easter

If you are considering withdrawing from study please contact the US Loan Administration Team to confirm this date for the current payment period. 

(a)    Assessment period 

As an institution we calculate Return of Title IV funds based upon the payment period in which withdrawal falls. NB: a study day is any week day in the payment period that is available for study, regardless of whether any teaching is scheduled 

(b)    Examples of calculation

Scenario 1

Zoey commenced study on 1st October on an undergraduate course. Her first payment period covered 1st October to 31st January. Zoey decided to withdraw from her course on 12th December. Zoey had received $2,227 subsidised loan, $990 unsubsidised loan, and $16,233 Parent PLUS Loan. $11,383 was paid towards tuition, $8,067 was paid directly to Zoey.

Number of days attended 77
Number of days in the semester 100
Earned Financial Aid 77%
Unearned financial Aid 23%

Zoey has been in attendance for longer than 60% of the payment period so can therefore keep the payments she has received.

Scenario 2

Pete is a PhD student and in his first year of study. His second payment period started on 1st April and ends on 30th September. Pete suspended study for one year due to illness on 16th June. He had received $10,142 (unsubsidised loan) towards tuition and $22,332 (Grad PLUS loan) paid directly into his bank account. $12,393 was paid towards tuition and $19,858 directly to Pete.

Number of days attended 77
Number of days in the semester 174
Earned Financial Aid 44%
Unearned financial Aid 56%

As Pete did not attend for more than 60% of the payment period a calculation must be done to determine how much of the funds disbursed have been ‘earned’ and what must be returned by the institution and Pete.

Type of aid Aid disbursed Aid earned Aid unearned
Subsidised Loan $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Unsubsidised Loan $10,142 $3,201.92 $6,940.08
Grad PLUS Loan $22,332 $11,086.64 $11,245.36
Total $32,474 $14,288.56 $18,185.44

These funds would be returned as follows:

(c)    University Obligations 

The University will determine any adjustments to a loan within 30 days of a student’s withdrawal and will return the required funds to the lender within 45 days of withdrawal. Students ‘earns’ aid on a daily basis and when a student withdraws any ‘unearned’ aid needs returning to the lender. The Return to Title IV calculations determine what amount the university is required to return and what amount the student is required to return. This will be communicated by email to the student.

Loans are returned in the following order: 

•    Federal Unsubsidised Stafford 
•    Federal Subsidised Stafford 
•    PLUS loan (Graduate or Parent) 

Loans must be repaid in accordance with the terms of the borrower’s Promissory Note. The University must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of the Title IV Program Funds.  

Once the Return to Title IV calculations have been completed and the student record updated all fees (tuition and Accommodation) will be calculated and the Student Fees team will communicate these to the student in writing.

7.    Post-Withdrawal Disbursements 

It is expected that in most cases there will be no need to make such a payment as all due Title IV Funding will have been disbursed to a student in a timely manner. As such, a student will have already received their full entitlement of Title IV funding for any given payment period. In the event of a student withdrawal the University will conduct an appropriate R2T4 calculation and where indicated in this calculation communicate and process any payment required to any student or parent borrower (PLUS loan) within the required timeframe. Following the calculation if the student is entitled to a post withdrawal disbursement they may choose to decline the loan funds so that additional debt is not incurred. However where a disbursement is due, the University will request permission from the student to use such funds to clear any tuition fees or accommodation fees outstanding. 

8.    Further Information 

Details are given below should any students have questions regarding this policy: 

•    US Loans Administration Team - 
•    Telephone (011 44) 113 343 2007 from outside the UK 
•    Extension 32007 if dialling internally from the University

Information is also available at 

All international students considering withdrawing from their studies on either a temporary or permanent basis should contact the International Student Office for immigration advice before making any decisions.