SA-16 Return of Financial Aid Funds


Specifies statutory requirements of returning Federal Title IV and state financial aid funds to their respective accounts when a financial aid recipient withdraws (officially or unofficially) from classes.


Applies to all Federal Title IV and state financial aid recipients who officially or unofficially withdraw from all courses before 60% of a term has elapsed.


Federal Title IV aid for this policy includes: Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Direct Loans and PLUS Loans.

State aid for this policy includes: Washington College Grant, College Bound Scholarship


When students fail to complete any credits during a quarter (whether they have ceased attending, withdrawn, received 0.0-0.9 grades or incompletes), a refund of tuition and/or a repayment of grant dollars may be required.

The Return of Federal and State Financial Aid Funds Policy will pertain to financial aid recipients receiving state grants and/or Federal Title IV funds. Green River’s refund policy returns 100% of tuition and fees through the fifth instructional day of the quarter, and 40% of tuition from the sixth instructional day of the quarter through the fifteenth calendar day of the quarter.

Green River’s tuition refund policy operates independently from the financial aid return of funds policy required for aid recipients. The college’s tuition refund policy applies to the first fifteen calendar days of the quarter while the financial aid return of funds policy applies to the first 60% of the quarter. Tuition refunds are not returned directly to financial aid recipients; instead, they are returned to financial aid accounts. Separate policies will apply to federal and state funding sources.

Federal Funding:
When students receive federal financial aid (Title IV) and withdraw from classes or cease attending before 60% of the quarter has elapsed, unearned Title IV federal funds (grants and loans) must be returned to the federal accounts by both the student and the college. The amount of earned and unearned funds is based upon the number of calendar days of class attendance during the first 60% (calendar days) of the quarter. The percentage of assistance earned is equal to the percentage of the payment period completed by the student. The percentage of Title IV funds not earned equals 100 percent minus the percent of Title IV aid earned. The student and the college may retain the earned portion of aid, but must return the portion of the unearned aid to the federal grant and loan accounts in the form of a refund.
Refunds are returned to federal accounts regardless of the source of tuition payments. Students will be billed for any portion of a federally required refund that is in excess of the college’s state refund policy.

If the student shows eligibility for federal funds not yet disbursed, a post-withdrawal disbursement of federal aid is made even though the student has ceased attendance.

State Funding:

When students received state financial aid and withdraw from classes or cease attending before 50% of the quarter has elapsed, unearned grants are referred to Washington Student Achievement Council for collection. In some cases the school may return the funds for the student to resolve the repayment obligation. The calculation to determine earned funds is the same for state and federal, although the threshold is 50% for state funding.


  1. Determine last date of attendance.
  2. Calculate unearned tuition and grants.
  3. Refund unearned tuition to federal accounts.
  4. Bill students for unearned tuition in excess of the state refund policy and bill for any grant overpayments owed.


Specific Authority:

Federal Regulations 34 CFR 668

State Regulations:

Law Implemented: 1998


History of Policy or Procedure:

Draft: February 5, 2005

Adopted: January 6, 2006

Revised: February 23rd, 2021

Reviewed by: Dean of Enrollment and Completion; Director of Financial Aid; Student Affairs Leadership Team

Sponsor: Teresa Buchmann, Director of Financial Aid, ext. 3326

President’s Staff Sponsor: Dr. Deborah Casey, Vice President of Student Affairs, ext. 3328