Return to Title IV Funds & Refund Policy

Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have questions about Return to Title IV Funds at Western Colorado University. We can provide a draft Return of Title IV funds calculation to help you determine the financial impact of withdrawing.

What is Title IV Aid?

Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended in 1998, (Title IV, and HEA program) establishes general rules that apply to federal student financial assistance programs. For purposes of Return of Title IV Funds, these programs include:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs)
  • Direct Loans
  • Direct Plus Loans

Withdrawal Process

The Return of Title IV funds policy applies to any student who cancels enrollment, withdraws, drops to zero hours, takes a leave of absence, or is dismissed. This policy applies to students who discontinue enrollment in all classes on or after the first day of the term. When you withdraw, two separate calculations must take place; the Office of Student Financial Services can provide both:

  • A refund calculation of tuition and fees
  • A Return of Title IV aid calculation

If you cancel your registration prior to the first day of classes, this policy will not apply to you. Also, if you drop some but not all of your classes, these policies will not apply; however, you should notify the Office of Financial Aid because your continued financial aid eligibility may be affected. Contact Student Affairs for information on withdrawing. Your withdrawal date is the date you contact the office of Student Affairs and meet with the Vice President/Dean of Students. Your withdrawal date will be indicated on your official withdrawal form.

Unofficial Withdrawal

The Office of Financial Aid reviews posted grades at the end of every term. If a student receives all non-passing grades (F, TF, IN, IP, W, or no grade), attendance in the term cannot be verified and as a result they are determined to have unofficially withdrawn. If a student receives an ‘F’ or ‘TF’ the faculty member must enter a Last Date of Attendance (LDA) when completing their grading rosters. If a student receives all Incompletes the Student Financial Services Office will contact the faculty members to determine the details of those incompletes and complete a Return to Title IV calculation (R2T4) if no completion date exists.

Unofficial withdrawals are determined within 30 days of the end of term, and the R2T4 calculation within 45 days of the end of the term.

Refund of Tuition and Fees

Based upon the date you discontinue enrollment, you may receive a full or partial refund of your tuition and fees. This refund will not impact the Return calculation, but does affect the amount of money you may owe back to the University for withdrawing. Refer to the Tuition and Fees Refund Schedule at the bottom of the page for more information.

Return of Title IV Funds (Earned versus Unearned Aid)

Within 45 days from when you discontinue enrollment, the Office of Financial Aid calculates the amount of financial aid you have earned prior to the date the action was filed. Any aid received in excess of the earned amount is considered unearned. The unearned financial aid must be returned to the respective federal programs no later than 45 days from when the student separated from Western. The calculation is based upon only the amount of Title IV Aid for which you were eligible. The State of Colorado and Western policy use a similar formula to calculate how much state and university aid is earned if the student discontinued enrollment before the end of the semester.

The responsibility to pay unearned aid is shared by Western and the student. Western’s share is the lesser of the amount of Title IV funds that the student does not earn or the amount of institutional charges that the student incurred for the payment period multiplied by the percentage of funds that was not earned. The student’s share is the difference between the total unearned aid amount and the institution’s share. The institution’s share is allocated among the Title IV programs, in an order specified by statute, before the student’s share. Once the student’s share is allocated, any amount owed to a grant program is reduced by half per the 50 percent grant protection rule. 

Calculating Earned Financial Aid


The amount of earned financial aid is calculated on a daily basis from the first day of classes. The process uses calendar rather than business days. Earned aid is determined by the percentage of the number of days attended before enrollment ended divided by the total number of days in the term (excluding any breaks of five days or more).

A student is considered to have earned all of their financial aid if they complete 60% of the days in the term and attendance is confirmed.

See examples for calculating the percent of earned aid below.

Calculating Return of Title IV Aid Amount

Once the earned and unearned aid percentages are determined, the next step is to calculate the dollar amount of unearned aid that must be returned to the financial aid programs. The return amount is determined by multiplying the unearned aid percentage by the total of all Title IV aid received.

Unearned Aid Percentage multiplied by Total of all Title IV Funds Received = Total Unearned Aid

School Portion of the Return

The amount of unearned aid that must be returned by Western is a percentage of the institutional charges (tuition, fees, on-campus housing) for the term. Once the dollar amount of the school portion of the Return is determined, it is compared to the total amount of all unearned aid. If the school portion is less than the total unearned aid, then Western must return the amount of the school portion. If the calculated school portion exceeds the total unearned aid, then Western must return the amount of the total unearned aid.

Financial aid will be returned to the aid program from which it came. If returned to a loan program, your outstanding balance will be reduced by the amount of the return. Aid will be returned in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Direct PLUS Loan (Graduate Student)
  4. Direct PLUS Loan (Parent)
  5. Federal Pell Grants
  6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Student Portion of Return of Title IV Funds

After the school returns the correct amount of aid, any amount of the total unearned aid that remains becomes the student portion of the Return. The student portion of the Return is calculated by subtracting the amount of the school Return from the total unearned aid.

Total Unearned Aid minus School Return Amount = Student Portion of Return

Unearned federal grants and loan funds are returned on behalf of the student and the returned funds are considered a debt to the institution. Students may work with the Cashier’s Office to pay any outstanding debts; however, a student must not have an outstanding balance on their account upon re-entry.

Federal Formula used for Colorado State Grants and Institutional Aid

Whether or not you are receiving any of the types of federal aid listed, students that received any non-federal aid (listed below) are required to go through a similar calculation to determine the portion of these funds that are unearned. We will return the calculated unearned portion of all state and institutional aid to the appropriate source and the returned funds are considered a debt to the institution. Students may work with the Cashier’s Office to pay any outstanding debts; however, a student must not have an outstanding balance on their account upon re-entry.

Any refund and/or repayment of institutional, athletic, private and third-party scholarships is determined by the donor.

Notification to Student

Once the Return to Title IV Funds calculation has occurred, the Office of Financial Aid will notify the student of the results of the calculation and the aid that was returned.

The Cashier’s Office will notify the student of any outstanding balance now due to the institution as a result of the adjustment to tuition, fees and other miscellaneous charges, federal Title IV aid returned based on the Return of Title IV calculation, and any returns of institutional, state, or private grants or scholarships.

Sample of Return to Title IV Calculation

This is a sample of a 2017-18 resident undergraduate student who withdraws during the fourth week of the fall semester:

  • Number of days attended: 26
  • Number of days in the semester: 107
  • Earned Financial Aid: 24. percent
  • Unearned Financial Aid: 75.7 percent


Type of Aid

Financial Aid Disbursed Fall Semester

Total Aid Earned (student keeps)

Total Aid Unearned (returned to program)

Western Resident Grant$700$170$530
Colorado Student Grant$1,000$243$757
Federal Pell Grant$2,960$2,032$928
Federal SEOG Grant$250$250$0
Unsubsidized Direct Loan$3,463$0$3,463
Subsidized Direct Loan$2,721$0$2,721

Tuition and Fees

Tuition refunds for withdrawal will be made according to the following schedule:

  •  100% - Through the end of the official Drop Period. (Sept. 13, 2018)
  •   50% -  For the period between 15 and 25% of the term. (Sept. 14 - Sept. 21)
  •   25% -  For the period between 25 and 50% of the term. (Sept. 22 - Oct. 18)
  •    0% -   For the period after 50% of the term. (beginning Oct. 19, 2018)

Please refer to the Class Schedule for dates of the official Drop Period.