Financial Aid Policies

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Withdrawals

If you are withdrawing from school and have received federal or state financial aid:

  • Complete Loan Exit Counseling if you have received Stafford or Institutional loans. The University will not release your academic records unless you fulfill this requirement.
  • Read the following explanation of federal requirements for returning unearned financial aid.
  • Read the following explanation of state requirements for retaining eligibility for MTAG/MESG.

Provisions governing return of financial aid funds

Special rules apply when students withdraw after receiving student financial aid (SFA) for the term from any of the following programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Stafford Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Graduate PLUS Loan (for graduate students)
  • Federal PLUS Loan (borrowed on the student's behalf)

These rules are federally mandated. Before UMMC can calculate any tuition/fee refunds to a student under the institutional refund policy (administered by the Student Accounting Office), the Office of Financial Aid must determine whether any financial aid funds should be paid back.

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 defines withdrawal as failure to complete the period of attendance on which federal aid eligibility was based. Therefore, this policy affects not only those individuals who complete the formal withdrawal notification process (as specified by the registrar), but also those students who simply stop attending classes.

Students withdrawing before the beginning of classes must repay the entire aid disbursed for that term. Students withdrawing after classes begin will be required to repay a prorated portion of funds received.

Special refund provisions apply for students who withdraw after receiving student financial aid (SFA) for a specific term of enrollment from any of the following Title IV programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Stafford Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal PLUS Loan (Undergraduate and Graduate)
  • Other Title IV programs

These provisions are federally mandated and can supersede The University of Mississippi institutional refund policy. (See the "Academic Calendar" in the "Class Schedule" publications for the institutional policy.)

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 state that when a recipient of Title IV funds ceases attendance during a term (withdraws), the University must calculate how much SFA was earned and how much was unearned. The unearned amount must be returned to the Title IV programs.

To do so, the University will first determine the percentage of the term completed. This percentage is determined by dividing the number of calendar days completed as of the date of withdrawal by the total number of calendar days in the term.

  • If the student withdrew on or before 60% of the term has elapsed, the percentage of SFA earned is equal to the percentage of the term completed.
  • If the student withdrew after 60% of the term has elapsed, the percentage of FSA earned is equal to 100%.

The amount of SFA earned is equal to the percentage of SFA earned multiplied by the total amount of SFA that was disbursed (or could have been disbursed) as of the day the student withdrew.

If the student received more SFA than the amount of SFA earned, the University and/or the student as outlined below mus.t return the unearned funds.

  • School: The University must return the lesser of: the amount of SFA not earned
    or
  • The institutional costs (tuition, etc.) that the student incurred multiplied by the percentage of SFA not earned.
  • Student: The student (or parent, in the case of a PLUS loan) must repay the amount of SFA not earned remaining after the University has returned its share.

Unearned funds are first applied (paid back) to any Title IV loans borrowed during the term. The student (or parent, in the case of a PLUS loan) must repay unearned funds to Title IV loan programs in accordance with the terms of the loan. Unearned funds are required to be returned to Title IV loans in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Stafford loan
  • Subsidized Stafford loan
  • Federal PLUS loans
If unearned funds remain after all loans have been repaid, the remaining unearned funds must be credited to Title IV programs in the following order:
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG

When the school must return grant funds on the student’s behalf, the student’s tuition account will be charged for this amount. When the responsibility for repaying funds to the Title IV grant programs falls to the student, the student is required to return only 50 percent of the grant repayment as calculated using the federal formula. Grant overpayments may be collected according to arrangements satisfactory to the school, or by overpayment collection procedures prescribed by the Department of Education.

Withdrawal during the refund period

For withdrawals during the University’s refund period (during which tuition/fee refunds may apply), institutional aid that has credited to the student account must be repaid in full.

Withdrawal from UMMC

A student can withdraw from the university during the course of a semester or summer term by providing written notification either via fax, mail or in person to the Office of the Registrar. Detailed information about the withdrawal process is provided in the UMMC Bulletin. All students should be aware that withdrawing (either officially or unofficially) can adversely affect scholarships and grants (Academic Excellence, MTAG, etc.) for the next term of attendance. The Office of Financial Aid can provide guidance in those cases. Refund, repayment and withdrawal policies are subject to change, without notice, in order to comply with administrative and regulatory requirements.

Unofficial withdrawal

“Unofficial withdrawals” are defined as those students who simply stopped attending classes. These students never went through a formal process to withdraw, but did not complete the period of attendance on which their federal aid eligibility was based. As noted in the Federal Student Financial Aid Handbook, the Department of Education mandates that universities develop a mechanism for determining whether a student who is a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds has ceased attendance without notification during the period of enrollment.

To meet this requirement:

  • The Student Affairs Dean in each school generates an electronic form when the school becomes aware of a change in enrollment. This form is completed and sent via email to the registrar's office, the financial aid office, and the student accounting office. The electronic correspondence states the reason for the change in enrollment (leave of absence, dismissal, withdrawal, or drop classes). Upon receipt of this notification, the Registrar will follow their office procedures for processing withdrawals and updating the student enrollment status.
  • The Registrar’s Office is responsible for contacting the Financial Aid Office with all notifications pertaining to a student's enrollment status not process via the electronic form.
  • The Registrar will provide a listing of students with a change of enrollment to the Financial Aid office to ensure that all Title IV recipients are identified.
  • Since the withdrawal date and the last attendance date is on the electronic notification from the Dean's office, the students are processed as schedule cancellations (if never attended) or as unofficial withdrawals (if attended and left without officially withdrawing). For schedule cancellations, the student account will be charged for all disbursed aid so that it can be returned to the source. For unofficial withdrawals, an unofficial withdrawal calculation is performed for refund purposes.
  • The Financial Aid office will obtain a term-based list of all students who received a grade of all "F" and/or "W." The financial aid office then identifies all students who received federal aid and posted all "F" and/or "W" grades. Each student is notified by letter and an e-mail sent to their UMMC e-mail account that is has been determined that he/she may be an unofficial withdrawal, and as a result, federal financial aid paybacks will be issued. The letter/e-mail informs the student of his/her right to dispute the determination.

Provisions governing MTAG/MESG for students who withdraw

A student must maintain continuous enrollment of not less than two semesters or three trimesters in each successive academic year unless granted an exception for cause. Examples of exceptions for cause may include personal injury or death of an immediate family member, participation in a cooperative program, internship or foreign study program.

If a recipient fails to maintain continuous enrollment, unless granted an exception for cause, that student is ineligible to receive funds during the next semester or trimester of full-time enrollment of a regular academic year.