SA-16 Return of Financial Aid Funds

Return of Federal and State 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: Direct Loans, Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, TEACH Grant, PLUS loans, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).

State aid for this policy includes: Washington College Grant, College Bound Scholarship, Washington Bridge Grant, Passport to College Scholarship, and Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

Official Withdrawal: When the student officially withdraws from classes through the Office of the Registrar.

Unofficial Withdrawal: When the student stops attending all classes before the end of the term and receives no credit for any classes and does not complete official withdrawal procedures.


When students fail to complete any credits during a quarter (whether they have ceased attending, withdrawn, received 0.0-0.9 grades or incompletes), a refund of tuition and/or a repayment of grant dollars may be required.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

State Funding:

Refunds for state financial aid programs are not required if student commences attendance in all courses. For classes that meet in person, the student must attend an in-person session in order for attendance to have been commenced. For courses that are fully online, the student must have logged into Canvas, completed an activity, and/or attended a Zoom or other virtual meeting for attendance to be considered begun. For a hybrid class, the student must engage in either an in-person or virtual activity. These activities cannot occur before the first day of instruction for the term.

If a student does not commence attendance in their courses, their state aid will be adjusted accordingly and a repayment will be owed to the college.

Students will be reviewed for SAP at the end of the quarter based on the enrollment level at which the state funds were disbursed. If a student withdraws during the first 10 days, the student has the option to return funds to avoid SAP and to protect future lifetime eligibility through the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC).

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 (grant and loan) must be returned to the federal accounts by both the student and the college.

There are two scenarios where a student is considered withdrawn which will result in a Return of Title IV calculation: official and unofficial withdrawals.

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 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.

Last Date of Attendance

The last date of class attendance will be determined by one of the following:

  1. Date submitted by faculty and accessible via the query CTC_FA_LDA_BY_STUDENT.
  2. Date the student actually withdrew and the withdrawal date posted on the Student Enrollment screen. The most recent withdrawal date will be used.
  3. Last date of activity in Canvas as determined by E-Learning.
  4. If no date is posted on the Student Enrollment Screen and the student has no grades (all 0.0, I, NC, N or *), withdrawal is considered the mid-point of the quarter. If a student receives failing grades of 0.0, it is assumed the student ceased attendance.
  5. If documentation in the student’s file reflects an earlier last date of attendance, the date documented in the file will be used.
Earned Aid Calculation

Determine percentage of aid earned by federal Title IV aid recipients by calculating the number of calendar days up to and including the last day of attendance and compare it to the total calendar days in a quarter. Exclude breaks of at least five days in length. If the percentage is greater than 60%, the student has earned the full award. If the percentage is 60% or less, the student’s federal aid will need to be recalculated. Determine the amount of earned aid by applying the earned percentage to the total Title IV aid (Direct Loans, Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, TEACH Grant, PLUS loans, and FSEOG) that was or could have been disbursed to the student.

Repayment or Disbursement Owed

If the total amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance, or both, that the student earned as calculated in Step 2 is less than the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance that was disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student in the case of a PLUS loan, as of the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew, a repayment of aid will need to be calculated. If the amount of aid earned is greater than the amount disbursed, the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement.

Repayment Owed

Responsibility for returning unearned aid is divided between GRC and the student. The institution must return the lesser of: (A) total federal unearned aid; or (B) the result of multiplying institutional charges by the percentage of federal aid unearned. The student returns the difference between the total unearned aid and the amount returned by the institution. Funds will be returned to the Title IV programs by GRC as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after determining the student has withdrawn.
Allocate unearned aid back to the Title IV programs. Any portion of the student’s share that is allocated to a loan program is repaid under the terms of the loan. The student’s share of unearned federal grant funds is no more than half of the total Title IV grant funds received by the student.

Unearned federal funds are allocated as follows:

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
Subsidized Federal Direct Loan
Federal Perkins Loan
Federal PLUS Loan
Federal Pell Grant
Federal SEOG
Other Title IV Aid

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement

Post-withdrawal disbursements should only be calculated for federal aid. Grant assistance is offered before loans. Within 30 days of the date of the institution’s determination that a student withdrew, the student, or parent in the case of parent PLUS loans, must be provided a written notification that requests confirmation of post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds and explains the obligation to repay any loan funds the student or parent chooses to have disbursed. The institution must make a direct disbursement of any loan funds that make up the post-withdrawal disbursement only after obtaining the student's, or parent's in the case of a parent PLUS loan, confirmation that the student or parent still wishes to have the loan funds disbursed. If the student (or parent) does not respond within 14 days, the disbursement may be canceled.

GRC will use some or all of the post-withdrawal grant disbursement to satisfy institutional charges prior to giving funds to the student. Any remaining portion of a post-withdrawal disbursement must be offered to the student (or parent for PLUS) within 14 days of the calculation of a return to Title IV.


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; October 26, 2023

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

Sponsor: Beth Hawes, Director of Financial Aid, 253-333-4978

President’s Staff Sponsor: David Larsen, Dean of Enrollment and Completion, ext. 3307