Return to Title IV (R2T4) Policy

Title IV (federal) financial aid funds are awarded under the assumption that a student will remain enrolled and attending for the entire period for which the funds were awarded.

When a student withdraws from one or all courses, regardless of the reason, s/he may no longer be eligible for the full amount of federal funds originally awarded and/or disbursed. The return of funds to the federal government is based on the premise that a student earns financial aid in proportion to the length of time during which s/he remains enrolled and attending. A pro-rated schedule determines the amount of federal student aid funds s/he will have earned at the time of full withdrawal. All students are subject to this process prior to the completion of 60% of the coursework.

Course drop during refund period

Any courses dropped within the refund period of the semester are not eligible for financial aid payment unless the student has withdrawn from all courses. During the fall and spring semesters, the refund period is the first three weeks of the semester. If the student is enrolled in a late-starting part of term course, contact the Enrollment Services for more information on refund dates and deadlines for nontraditional courses.

Non-attendance

If the Financial Aid office learns, at any time, that a student never attended a class, the Financial Aid office is required to cancel financial aid for that class. The student will be obligated to re-pay any balance due to the college as a result of the cancellation of this aid.

Withdraw from courses prior to disbursement

Students begin earning financial aid from the first day of courses. If a student withdraws from classes prior to receiving their financial aid disbursement it is possible that the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement. Post withdrawal disbursements are rare and occur in limited situations as described below.

  1. When a student’s file was selected for verification and there is a delay in processing. If the student falls into this situation, be aware that the Financial Aid office has 120 days from the date of the student’s withdrawal to make a payment towards the file based on the R2T4 calculation. Students are encouraged to submit any missing paperwork as soon as possible to ensure they receive the amount of federal aid earned within the deadline. After 120 days from the student’s withdrawal date, the Financial Aid office is prohibited from disbursing aid for that period.
  2. If the student drops all courses within the first month of classes prior to financial aid disbursing. If the student’s file is complete and eligible for payment, our office has 45 days from the date of withdrawal to complete a post withdrawal disbursement for aid earned based on the R2T4 calculation.

In the event the student is eligible for a post withdrawal disbursement of a Pell grant, CCBC financial aid will authorize the funds to the student’s account.  If the student is eligible for a post withdrawal disbursement of a Direct Loan, the College will email and mail the student a letter instructing them on next steps if they wish to receive the loan funding.  All disbursements will be applied to the student’s account to pay towards any balance owed to the College.  Any remaining excess funds will be disbursed to the student via either check in the mail or direct deposit.  

Official withdraw or stop attending (unofficial withdrawal)

If the student received federal financial aid and withdraws from all classes, or stops attending, prior to the completion of 60% of the semester, the student will be responsible to repay all or a portion of any federal grants and loans that were received. The Financial Aid office will calculate the "earned" amount of federal aid based on the number of days the student attended classes. All unearned financial aid will be returned either to the Department of Education or, in the case of loans, the lender. The student will receive a bill for any unpaid tuition, fees and book charges on their account that is created by the return of funds. Students will not be allowed to enroll in future classes until the bill is paid in full.

The Financial Aid office suggests that students talk to an academic adviser and the Financial Aid office before withdrawing from classes. Students may also want to consider contacting Student Support Services for tutoring to help achieve success in their courses.

Modular coursework, Winter/Spring, and Summer sessions

Course(s) that are condensed and meet for a short period of time (ex. 7 or 12 weeks) or begin prior to or end after the 15-week traditional semester are considered modular courses for R2T4 purposes. As Financial Aid pays for Winter courses as part of the Spring term, students enrolled in Winter and Spring courses are also considered ‘modular’ for R2T4 purposes. The same applies to Summer enrollment when a student is enrolled in both session 1 and session 2 courses. If a student is enrolled in modular courses, speak with the Financial Aid office prior to withdrawing, dropping, or otherwise making schedule changes to discuss how these changes will affect their financial aid.

The Financial aid disbursement is based on the payment period for the courses the student was enrolled in at the time of enrollment lock. Regardless of whether the student completes the first modular course; if the student subsequently withdraws, stops attending, or fails to start all modules that aid was received (or expected) for, the student may be subject to a R2T4 calculation.

When a withdrawn student returns within a payment period

If a student plans to return to school within 45 calendar days after the student withdrew/stopped attending, the student must notify the Financial Aid office in writing within 30 days of withdrawing/stopping classes and before the start of future courses. Failure to provide timely positive confirmation of future attendance may result in a balance owed on the student’s account. If the student resumes courses and then withdraws from courses again, or fails to resume the late starting courses, the Financial Aid office is required to perform the R2T4 based on the initial (earliest) date of withdrawal.

All F grades at end of semester

If a student fails to earn a passing grade in any course during the semester, the Financial Aid office must determine if the F grades are earned or unearned. In the event the F grades are determined to be unearned, federal regulations state “the institution must assume, for Title IV purposes, that the student has unofficially withdrawn, unless the institution can document that the student completed the period” (DCL GEN-04-03 Revised, November 2004).

To make this determination of whether the F grades are earned or unearned, the Financial Aid office will rely on a combination of the institution’s grading policy, faculty reported last date of attendance, and/or other college information as appropriate. For more information on CCBC’s grading policy, view the college catalog.

If the Financial Aid office is unable to document attendance in any courses, federal regulations require that all aid be pulled back and returned to the Department of Education (34 CFR 668.21). If attendance is documented in one or more of the student’s courses, the Financial Aid office use the latest date of attendance for the R2T4 calculation. In the event that no last date of attendance is reported, but the student had passing midterm grades, the Financial Aid office will process the R2T4 using the 50% point of the semester as indicated in the federal regulations (34 CFR 668.22(c)(1)(iii)). 


All unearned financial aid will be returned either to the Department of Education or, in the case of loans, the lender. The student will receive a bill for any unpaid tuition, fees and book charges on their account that is created by the return of funds.

R2T4 Calculation

The following is a detailed explanation of the Return of Title IV Funds Policy provided by the Department of Education:

"The Financial Aid office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term. The federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations.”

If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:

  • Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

  • Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution.

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal.

Order of Return

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal.

Returns are allocated in the following order based on the R2T4 calculation:
  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants
  • Other assistance under this Title for which a return of funds is required (e.g., LEAP)