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Withdrawals and Return of Title IV Aid Funds

Students who completely withdraw from SUNY-ESF prior to completing more than 60% of a term may be required to repay all or a portion of any Title IV aid received. The amount that must be returned is calculated based on the percentage of the term that was completed prior to the student’s officially determined withdrawal date. Note: the SUNY-ESF refund policy does not impact the amount of Title IV funding which may need to be returned.

Official Withdrawals

Students who wish to withdraw from the College must first consult with staff from the Student Affairs Office. Following this consultation, the student will receive a withdrawal form which must be completed as indicated before the change in status is made. This form will require the student to communicate with each appropriate office to complete the steps required before the withdrawal is approved.

Unofficial Withdrawals

Students who cease to attend all classes and do not participate in any official academic activities will be considered unofficial withdrawals and will be subject to the Return of Title IV Funds Policy. The return of funds procedures will begin when one of the following takes place, whichever is earlier:

  • College staff becomes aware that the student is no longer attending any classes and the official withdrawal process, voluntary or involuntary, commences.
  • The term ends and it is determined that the student ceased to attend classes during that term. All students who do not earn at least one passing grade in a term will be reviewed to determine if they should be considered unofficial withdrawals.
Federal Leave of Absence

A student on an approved Federal Leave of Absence is not subject to the Return of Title IV Funds requirements.

A Federal Leave of Absence, in relation to Title IV Federal Aid, is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study. This refers to a specific time period during a program when a student is not in attendance. Unless specific conditions are met, a Federal Leave of Absence will not be approved and the student will be considered a withdrawal. These conditions are:

  • There must be a reasonable expectation that the student will return from the Federal Leave of Absence.
  • The total length of the Federal Leave of Absence, combined with any other Leaves of Absence, may not exceed 180 days in any 12 month period.
  • The student must be able to resume training at the exact point in the academic program that the Federal Leave of Absence began.

In order to be considered for a Federal Leave of Absence, a student must submit a signed and dated written request to the Office of Financial Aid. This request should include the following information:

  • The circumstances requiring a leave of absence.
  • The steps that will be taken to ensure that the student will be able to return within 180 days from the start of the Leave of Absence.
  • Confirmation and documentation that the student will be able to resume all interrupted classes at the same point upon returning to the College.

Requests for Federal Leave of Absence will be reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid in consultation with the Office of Student Affairs. Students will be notified of the decision reached. If a Federal Leave of Absence is approved, the following conditions will apply:

  • The College may not assess any additional institutional charges, the student’s financial need cannot increase, and the student cannot be eligible for any additional federal financial aid.
  • The College must have discussed with the student the impact that failure to return from the Leave of Absence will have on loan repayment and grace period terms. This will be done through the Office of Financial Aid.
Official Date of Withdrawal

The official date of withdrawal is determined by the Office of Student Affairs and is based on the best available information. This date will be indicated on each student’s withdrawal form. The official date will be one of the following:

  • The date the student communicates intent to withdraw. This communication can be done in writing, electronically, or verbally to any authorized college official. Note that communicating with college officials about the process is not the same as expressing intent to withdraw.
  • The last date the student attended class or participated in an organized educational activity. This date can only be used if supported by documentation deemed appropriate by staff in the Student Affairs Office.

The date of withdrawal for Unofficial Withdrawals will be one of the following, based on the best available information:

  • The mid-point of the term.
  • The last date the student attended class or participated in an organized educational activity. This date can only be used if supported by documentation deemed appropriate by staff in the Student Affairs Office.
Calculation of Percentage of Term Completed and Amount of Title IV Aid Earned

Once the last date of attendance has been determined and the withdrawal process is completed, the Bursar’s Office will calculate the percentage of the term the student completed and the resulting amount of Title IV aid the student earned. All calculations are done using the “Return of Title IV Funds on the Web” software provided by the Department of Education.

Percentage of Term Completed

This percentage is calculated by dividing the total number of days of attendance in the term by the total number of days in the term. All scheduled breaks of five consecutive days or more are excluded from this calculation. An example of this calculation is:

[35 Days of Attendance] / [100 Days in Term] = [35% of Term Completed]
Amount of Title IV Aid Earned

The amount of Title IV Aid Earned is calculated by multiplying the student’s total federal aid eligibility by the percentage of the term completed. Total aid eligibility is federal aid that was disbursed plus federal aid that could have been disbursed for the term. An example of this calculation is:

[$5,000 Total Aid Eligibility] X [35% of Term Completed] = [$1,750 Total Aid Earned]
Responsibility for Returning Unearned Aid

The student and the school are both responsible for returning unearned federal aid to the federal government. Students will be billed for any amount returned by the school as a result of the Return of Title IV funds calculation. Students will be notified in writing of any funds owed to the federal government. Funds that must be returned by the student will be applied to loans first.

Deadlines and Important Timeframes
Date of Determination

This is the date SUNY-ESF determines that a student is considered an official or unofficial withdrawal. The date must be determined no later than 30 days after the end of the term, and will be one of the following:

  • The date on which the student has provided notification of withdrawal
  • The date on which the institution becomes aware that the student ceased attendance
Return of Title IV Calculations

Title IV Return calculations will be done within 30 days of the Date of Determination.

Notifications to Student

Notification of the results of the Title IV Return process will be sent to the student in writing by the Bursar’s Office within 45 days of the Date of Determination. The notice will include the following:

  • Information regarding any grant overpayments owed to the federal government
  • Eligibility for post withdrawal disbursement of student loan funds
  • Amount owed to the College as a result of the Title IV Return process
  • A copy of the return calculation worksheet

Contact Information

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
113 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 470-6706
(315) 470-4734 (Fax)
finaid@esf.edu

Important Codes

SUNY-ESF Federal School Code: 002851

SUNY-ESF TAP Codes:
 · Undergraduate-0950
 · Graduate-5555

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