Policies

Return of Title IV aid policy

Overview

This policy applies only to eligible US and non-US citizens receiving Title IV Financial Aid who began attending for a payment period (term or semester) and then withdrew or temporarily suspended during the payment period (term or semester). If a University of Leicester student who is in receipt of Title IV Financial Aid permanently withdraws or temporarily suspends studies for more than 180 days we are required to 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 Aid requirements of section 484B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) and §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 (term or semester), 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.

Responsibility for payment of fees

All students at the University of Leicester are ultimately responsible for full and prompt payment of their tuition fees, regardless of the funding arrangements they make.

Responsibility for maintaining personal information

It is the responsibility of each University of Leicester student to ensure any changes to their personal details are communicated correctly to the University. This includes changes such as legal name changes, or change of address. Personal details can be amended via the student portal MyStudentRecord, any changes to a student’s name would need to be evidenced by providing documentation such as a marriage certificate or passport.

Please note any changes to a student’s personal information could affect eligibility for US Federal Funding.

Non-attendance

If a student does not complete their registration for a course the University of Leicester would not assess the student as being eligible to receive Title IV Funding. Once non-registration has been confirmed, either by the student or the University, any loans that had been originated would be cancelled and no disbursements would be requested.

Cooling-off period

If a student registers for a course but formally withdraws within 14 days of the course start date no tuition fees will be charged for the period of registration. This applies to undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research courses.

Students wishing to withdraw from their course should follow the withdrawal guidance. The withdrawal date is determined as the last engagement date agreed by the academic department on the withdrawal form and is not necessarily the last date of attendance.

The cooling off period only applies for students in the 1st year of a course, students returning for a later year will be charged in line with the liability calculations outlined below.

Fee Liability Calculations

Outside of the cooling off period, tuition fee liabilities are calculated as follows for withdrawals and any associated refunds are processed in line with the University refund policy.

Undergraduate (including PGCE) courses

  • Withdrawal in Term 1 – 25% of annual fee charged
  • Withdrawal in Term 2 – 50% of annual fee charged
  • Withdrawal in Term 3 – 100% of annual fee charged

Postgraduate taught courses

If a student withdraws within the first 7 months of their academic year, the fee liability is calculated as 1/12th of the annual fee for each full or part calendar month prior to their withdrawal. If a student withdraws after 7 months the fee liability is not calculated on a pro rata basis, 100% of the annual fee is due.

Postgraduate research courses

Standard tuition fee liabilities are calculated on a monthly basis; students are charged 1/12th of the annual fee for each full or partial calendar month they are registered prior to their withdrawal. Fee liabilities for periods of writing up and extension are calculated on a 6 month and 3-month basis respectively.

Title IV loan disbursements

The University is required to disburse Federal Title IV Aid in multiple instalments as follows.

Undergraduate loans

  • Three instalments, one at the beginning of each term (3 payment periods)

Postgraduate taught loans

  • Two instalments, one at the beginning of each semester (2 payment periods)

Postgraduate research loans

  • Two instalments, 1 at the beginning of each semester (2 payment periods)

Tuition fees are deducted in equal instalments in line with the disbursements.

Approved leave of absence (suspensions)

Under Federal regulations, students can take an approved leave of absence up to 180 days before they are required to make repayments of loans or return any funds. For students that do not return within 180 days the last date of engagement prior to the leave of absence is used to calculate the funds earned during a payment period and the date a student enters repayment. If a student takes a period of leave of absence they must resume their studies at the same point they were prior to their absence. For the purpose of Title IV Aid, only postgraduate research students or postgraduate taught students undertaking their dissertation can be considered for the leave of absence. All other students are unable to resume their studies at the same point within 180 days so any suspensions would be treated as a withdrawal for Title IV Aid purposes and a R2T4 would be completed.

If a period of suspense was due to health reasons, the student would be required to submit evidence from a Doctor or other health professional to confirm they are fit to return to their studies.

Our Student Immigration Advice and Compliance Team (visas@le.ac.uk) can provide guidance on the visa implications of any period of suspense. It is recommended students contact the team for advice prior to requesting a period of suspense.

Find further information regarding the process of suspending studies (undertaking a leave of absence).

Withdrawal process

Students considering permanently withdrawing from their studies are advised to speak with their academic department and if necessary any of the support services at the University. When considering withdrawing the financial implications students are to take into consideration the impact this will have on any funding and the amount owed to the university. Information regarding the withdrawal process for all taught students and postgraduate research students can be found on the University website. Student withdrawals are processed on the University’s student record system by the following teams:

The withdrawal date is determined as the last engagement date agreed by the academic department on the withdrawal form which will normally be attendance at a scheduled event or the submission of/attendance at an assessment and is not necessarily the last date of attendance. This is the date recorded on the student record as the withdrawal date, regardless of when the student record system is updated and the date used to calculate fees owed and the date used when Returns to Title IV calculations are being processed.

Please note should the withdrawal process not be followed the student will be deemed to be registered and therefore incurring tuition fee charges.

Attendance monitoring

As part of the University’s Tier 4 Visa Sponsor License there is a requirement to monitor the attendance of students. For Title IV Aid purposes, a determination whether a student should or should not be withdrawn will be made within 14 days of their last date of attendance as determined by our attendance records. If at this point the student is considered to be withdrawn their official record will be updated and a R2T4 calculation will be completed. These considerations will be made in line with the University’s student engagement policy.

The above policy and procedures are applied to determine if a student has unofficially withdrawn themselves from their course. Such students can be defined as those who indicate their intention to formally withdraw but do not complete the withdrawal request form or those who give no indication of their intentions.

Should the determination made by the student’s academic department and Student and Academic Services be that they should not be withdrawn no R2T4 calculation will be completed as the student would remain an enrolled student.

Return of Title IV funds calculation

In order to follow US Federal Regulations the University is required to calculate the Title IV Funding students have earned prior to the date they withdraw from the University of Leicester. This is done by following the procedures established in §668.22 of the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations.

Title IV Aid is considered to have been earned 100% if the R2T4 calculation results in more than 60% being earned. If a student withdraws having completed less than 60% of a payment period, the student has not earned all of their funding and therefore a return of funds is required. For example, a student who attends 20% of the term has earned approximately 20% of the total aid value that was disbursed.

The percentage of the payment period a student has attended used for the R2T4 calculation is based on the number of days the student attended minus unscheduled leave that are 5 days or more divided by the total numbers of days in the payment period.

Any students in receipt of Title IV Funding should contact the US Loans Team (USloans@le.ac.uk) if they are considering withdrawing from their course. The US Loan Team will be able to offer advice on the percentage of a payment period a student has completed.

Once a student has officially withdrawn the University will complete a Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation and return any unearned loan funds to the US Department of Education.  A copy of the R2T4 calculation form showing the value returned by the University is sent to the student.

University responsibilities

The University of Leicester is required to ensure any amendments to a student’s loans are made within 30 days of their withdrawal. The University is also required to ensure any unearned funds are returned within 45 days. If following the Return to Title IV calculation funds have been deemed to be unearned they must be returned in the following order:

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

For example, if a student’s total disbursement for a loan period is $10,000 Federal Unsubsidised and $10,000 Graduate PLUS and the University retained all funds for tuition expenses the following return would be required if the student was in attendance for 40% of the period:

  • $10,000 Federal Unsubsidised and $2,000 Graduate PLUS

Once the University has determined the amounts of each type of unearned Title IV Aid that it must return, any remaining unearned funds that were disbursed are the responsibility of the student. Remaining unearned funds must be repaid by the student in accordance with the terms of the loans and conditions according to the promissory note.

Please note if after any required returns of funds there is a difference between the fees charged and the payments received the student will be required to make payment for this. If this is the case the student will be informed in writing.

Student responsibilities

The student will be required to repay the earned loan value retained by the University and all earned and unearned funds paid to the student for their living expenses. A copy of the R2T4 spreadsheet calculated by the University will advise the student of the value to be returned by the student and the value to be repaid in the normal way.

An example of a student’s repayment responsibility is as follows:

  • Total disbursement for loan period: $20,000.00
  • Funds retained by University: $10,000.00
  • Funds given to student: $10,000.00
  • Percentage of period completed: 40%
  • Earned funds retained by University: $4,000.00
  • Unearned funds returned by University: $6,000.00
  • Earned funds repayable by student: $8,000.00
  • Unearned funds repayable by student: $6,000.00

The University will direct the student to exit counselling which will explain repayment arrangements.

The student MUST contact their servicer to make arrangements for repayment.

Period used for R2T4 calculation

The University will process the Return to Title IV calculation based on the payment period the withdrawal takes place in. The calculation is based on the number of days the student attended minus unscheduled leave that are 5 days or more divided by the total numbers of days in the payment period. For the purposes of R2T4 calculations days attended refers to the days a student is enrolled at the University, whether or not lectures or other teaching events take place.

Post-withdrawal disbursements

As Title IV Funding is disbursed in a timely manner it is unlikely that any post-withdrawal disbursements will need to be processed, all withdrawn students should have received their full funding for the payment period prior to the withdrawal.

If a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation for a withdrawal indicates a post-withdrawal disbursement is required, this will be communicated to the student or parent (PLUS Loan) in writing within 30 days of the date of determination of withdrawal. This written notification will explain the following:

  • Type of Title IV aid and amount of post-withdrawal disbursement
  • Option to accept or decline partial or full funds
  • Repayment obligation of disbursed post-withdrawal funds
  • Confirmation of 14 day response deadline to request post-withdrawal disbursement

The University will not process a post-withdrawal disbursement unless confirmation of acceptance is received from the student or parent borrower. This response will be recorded for the University’s audit purposes. Any response received after the 14-day deadline but prior to 180 days after the date of determination of withdrawal will be considered by the US Loan Team. If a response is received more than 180 days after the date of determination of withdrawal no post-withdrawal disbursement can be processed.

Notifying US Department of Education

The University is required to notify the US Department of Education of the current enrolment status of our current and former students. Every two months a list is processed via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). At the next enrolment confirmation point following a student’s withdrawal it is confirmed to the US Department of Education via NSLDS. The actual date of withdrawal is used, regardless of the date the enrolment update is completed.

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