Return of Title IV Funds
The following rules govern the return of Title IV funds disbursed for a student who completely withdraws, is dropped or ceases attending a term, payment period or period of enrollment.
A student is considered a withdrawal if he or she does not complete all of the scheduled days on which Title IV aid was based in the payment period or period of enrollment. For modules (the non-16-week terms offered at SPC), a student is considered a withdrawal if he or she does not complete all of the scheduled days on which Title IV aid was based in the payment period or period of enrollment and does not:
- Complete graduation requirements;
- Successfully complete a module or combination of modules that include at least 49 percent of the countable days in the payment period or period of enrollment;
- Successfully complete at least half-time coursework; or
- Provide written confirmation of future attendance within the required timeframe sent to the student.
The Title IV programs covered include federal grants and loans. Federal guidelines assume that a student earns his or her aid based on the period of time he or she remains enrolled. SPC determines the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance that the student earned as of the date of the student's withdrawal, last date of known academic engagement, or the mid-point of the semester.
During the first 60 percent of the enrollment period, a student earns Title IV funds disbursed or that could have been disbursed in direct proportion to the length of time he or she remains enrolled. The percentage of unearned Title IV aid is the complement of the student’s earned aid percentage. Unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the Federal Government; this is not applicable to federal work study. A student who remains enrolled after the 60 percent point earns all of his or her disbursed aid for the period. If earned Title IV funds exceed disbursed aid, additional funds may be disbursed to the student in the form of a late disbursement. Additional disbursements are not permitted if the amount of earned aid is less than the total Title IV funds that were disbursed prior to the institution’s determination that the student withdrew.
Repayment of Unearned Aid
The unearned amount of Title IV aid to be returned is calculated by subtracting earned aid from the amount of disbursed aid as of the date SPC determined the student withdrew. The responsibility to repay unearned aid is shared by the institution and the student in proportion to the aid each is assumed to possess. The institution’s share is allocated among the Title IV programs in an order specified by statute before the student’s share.
The institution’s share is the lesser of the total amount of unearned aid or the institutional charges multiplied by the percentage of aid that was not earned. The student’s initial share is the difference between the total unearned amount and the institution’s share. Any remaining outstanding loans are repaid by the student according to the terms and conditions of the student’s promissory notes. After the student’s share is allocated among the Title IV programs, students owe any grant overpayments that exceed 50 percent of the Title IV grant aid received. Students are not required to return grant overpayments of $50 or less.
Repayments will be distributed to the appropriate Title IV, HEA programs in the following order:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
- Federal Direct PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG Grant
- Other Title IV assistance
- Other state, private or institutional aid
If the institution returns unearned aid to the Department of Education that was previously disbursed to a student, the student then owes the unearned disbursement to the institution. A hold is placed on the student’s records at SPC, and the account is turned over to a collection agency if this balance is unpaid.
Time Frame for Students to Return Funds
The institution must return its share of unearned Title IV funds no later than 45 days after determining a student withdrew. Students return their share of unearned aid attributable to loans under the terms and conditions of their promissory notes. Students have 45 days to resolve grant overpayments in one of the following three ways:
- Repay the overpayment in full to the institution
- Sign a repayment agreement with the institution
- Sign a repayment agreement with the Department of Education
When overpayments are not resolved within 45 days from the date SPC sends notification of the overpayments, students lose their financial aid eligibility at every institution of higher education in the United States. If a student refuses to make payment or payment arrangements for any Title IV program, SPC is required by law to report the overpayment to the Department of Education.
Post-Withdrawal Disbursements of Aid
A student who earned more aid than was disbursed prior to withdrawal may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. A post-withdrawal disbursement, whether credited to the student’s account or disbursed to the student or parent directly, must be made from available grant funds before available loan funds. SPC may credit grant disbursements toward unpaid institutional charges for the current year charges only. SPC will contact a withdrawn student prior to making a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds. SPC will explain the student’s obligation to repay the funds to confirm whether the loan funds are still required by the student. Students will be encouraged to cancel the loan. SPC will document the student’s decision in his or her file.
Any portion of a post-withdrawal disbursement not credited to the student’s account will be offered in writing or electronically as a cash disbursement to the student within 30 days of the withdrawal date. The student has 14 calendar days to respond to the Financial Aid Office for a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds. Upon receiving the response, SPC will make the disbursement no later than 45 days from the date SPC determined that the student withdrew. SPC will return the post-withdrawal disbursement to the Department of Education if no response is received from the student, or parent in the case of a Parent PLUS Loan. Funds will also be returned to the Department of Education if they are declined by the student or parent, or if a response is not received within the 14 day timeframe. If a student, or parent in the case of a PLUS loan, decides to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, the student and/or parent is obligated to repay those funds according to the loan terms. If a response to the post-withdrawal disbursement eligibility notice is received after the 14 day timeframe, it is SPC’s decision as to whether or not this disbursement will be made in accordance with federal regulations.
An eligible student who withdraws from SPC prior to completing his or her file should check with the Financial Aid Office to determine if he or she qualifies for a post-withdrawal disbursement.
Determination of Withdrawal Date
A student is considered to have withdrawn if the student does not complete all of the days during the semester he or she was scheduled to complete. The withdrawal date is the date the student began the institution’s withdrawal process, or officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw orally or in writing. The withdrawal date may also be the mid-point of the period for a student who leaves without notifying the institution, or the student's last day of known academic engagement.
Academic engagement includes:
- Attending a class, lecture, field activity, or laboratory activity, either physically or online, where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students
- Submitting an exam or assessment
- Participating in an interactive tutorial, webinar, or other interactive computer-assisted instruction
- Participating in a school-assigned study group, online discussion, or group project
- Interacting with a faculty member regarding the academic subject studied in the course.
Academic engagement does not include:
- Living in institutional housing
- Using SPC's meal plan
- Logging into an online class or tutorial without active participation
- Participating in academic counseling or advising.
If the withdrawal date or last date of academic engagement is unable to be determined, the mid-point of the period will be used as the withdrawal date. If a student leaves without notification because of circumstances beyond the student's control, the institution may determine a withdrawal date related to these circumstances.
Written notification to the Admissions and Records Office is required in order for the withdrawal request to be honored. Grades of W, which are initiated by the student, will carry the appropriate date from the Admissions and Records Office that the Financial Aid Office will use. The Financial Aid Office will use the latter date of students who have combinations of F, X and W grades in the same semester.
Students will receive a statement from the Business Office detailing the amount that the student owes the institution due to SPC returning unearned aid to the federal program(s). A hold will be placed on the student records at SPC at this time. Students should make payment arrangements with the Business Office to avoid being turned over to a collection agency. If the student also owes the Financial Aid Office a portion of unearned aid, then the student will receive a letter from the Financial Aid Office with the amount due.
Withdrawing from Programs offered in Modules
IF a student:
- Withdraws or is dropped from all of his or her classes within a 16-week semester (like the Fall or Spring semesters)
- Withdraws or is dropped from all of his or her classes within any already started modules (terms that happen within or as part of a larger single semester),
- Is enrolled in a future module that hasn’t yet started
- The student must complete an Intent to Return form, or a Return of Title IV funds (R2T4) calculation will be performed likely resulting in a balance owed by the student.
IF the student completes the Intent to Return form THEN the Financial Aid Office is able to and will re-evaluate the student’s financial aid eligibility without performing a Return of Title IV funds (R2T4) calculation. The student may still owe funds back to the college for financial aid already disbursed depending on the changes the student made to his or her schedule. However, the Intent to Return form helps to minimize, and in some cases eliminates, the amount of funds a student must return. Students are encouraged to speak with the Financial Aid Office regarding changes to their schedules.
Payment Arrangements and Payments
Students may not register for SPC classes or receive an official transcript until the debt has been paid in full. If a student also owes the Financial Aid Office and wishes to make payment arrangements, he/she should contact the Financial Aid Office and a repayment arrangement contract will be mailed to the student. If a student is late on any payment with the financial aid Office, SPC reserves the right to turn the student’s account over to the U.S. Department of Education for collection. Students who wish to make payment arrangements with the Business Office, should contact the Business Office for further details to avoid being turned over to a collection agency.
Payments should be made in the form of a money order and be sent to the following location(s):
South Plains College
South Plains College
Financial Aid Office
1401 S. College Ave., Box A
1401 S. College Ave., Box B
Levelland, TX 79336
Levelland, TX 79336
(806) 894-9611, ext. 2400
Students whose Financial Aid debt has been turned over to the U.S. Department of Education should contact the Department of Education at the following address:
U.S. Department of Education
Debt Resolution Services
P.O. Box 5609
Greenville, Texas 75403
Non-Statutory Refund Policy
For any student to whom the Return of Title IV Funds Policy does not apply, SPC will calculate the refund according to the college’s refund policy.
Example of Refund Policies
Upon request, SPC will provide a student or parent with an example of the application of these refund policies.