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Return to Title IV Policy

Return to Title IV

The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions to apply the Return to Title IV Funds policy for students withdrawing from a college who receive Title IV financial aid. The Federal Title IV programs at Western Dakota Technical College include: Pell Grants, Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.

The requirements to return Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from the WDTC refund policy – WDTC Policy 6007 and 6007.Procedure.001. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. WDTC will charge the student for any Title IV program funds that WDTC is required to return to the U.S. Department of Education.

A student who withdraws after the 60% point of a semester is entitled to retain all Title IV aid for that semester. However, if the student withdraws prior to the 60% point of the term, unearned Title IV funds as determined by the federal policy must be returned to the various programs.

Withdrawal Process

The Return of Title IV policy is applied to any student who cancels enrollment, withdraws, drops to zero hours, takes a leave of absence, or is dismissed. This policy is applied to students who discontinue enrollment in all classes on or after the first day of the term. When you withdraw, two separate calculations must take place:

  1. A refund of tuition and fees from WDTC must be calculated by the Bursar’s Office (Student Accounts)
  2. A return to Title IV must be calculated by the Financial Aid Office

If you cancel your registration prior to the first date of classes, this policy will not apply to you. If you drop some but not all of your classes, these policies will not apply. However, you should notify the Financial Aid Office as your continued financial aid eligibility may be affected. Contact the Registrar’s Office for information on withdrawing. 

Attendance is taken in all courses at WDTC. The student’s withdrawal date is the last date of attendance or engagement (LDA) and verified by the Registrar’s Office. The Financial Aid Office will use the LDA to calculate the return of Title IV funds.

Unofficial Withdrawal

If a student has not attended all enrolled courses for 8 consecutive days, the Student Success Coach attempts to contact the student. If the student has 14 days of non-attendance and has not begun the official withdrawal process, an official letter and email is sent to the student notifying the student of the attendance policy and the options to withdraw or risk of administrative withdrawal. Western Dakota Technical College is an attendance taking school and must be able to make this determination within 14 days if not sooner.

The Financial Aid Office will receive administrative withdrawal paperwork from the Registrar’s Office and will complete the Return of Title IV calculation. The deadline to refund Title IV to the U.S. Department of Education is 45 days from the date the school determined the student withdrew.

Refund of Tuition and Fees

Based upon the date you discontinue enrollment, you may receive a refund of your tuition and fees. See WDTC WDTC Policy 6007 and 6007.Procedure.001 for details.

Determining Earned Aid

Financial aid is posted to your account at the start of each semester and you earn the funds as you complete the semester. Title IV financial aid is earned by the calendar day, not class day. This includes weekends, holidays, and breaks of less than five consecutive days. WDTC is required to determine the amount of Title IV aid the withdrawing student has earned.  The amount of Title IV aid that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those funds. If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned to the U.S. Department of Education.

If the date a student withdraws from WDTC is prior to or on the 60% point of the semester, WDTC is required to determine the portion of the aid disbursed that was “earned” by the student before the withdrawal date. The “unearned” Title IV funds must be returned to the respective federal aid programs within 45 days after WDTC determines student withdrew. Unearned aid is the amount of disbursed Title IV aid that exceeds the amount of Title IV aid earned based on attendance in the enrollment period.

For example: If $1000 in federal aid is disbursed, and the student withdraws at the 30% point of the term, $700 of the aid is unearned and needs to be returned to the identified aid program.

The following formula is used to determine the percentage of unearned aid that must be returned to the U.S. Department of Education:

  • The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total calendar days in the payment period (less any scheduled breaks that are at least 5 days long).
  • The payment period is the entire semester. For students enrolled in modules (courses which are not scheduled for the entire semester or term), the payment period only includes those days for the modules(s) in which the student is registered.
  • The percent unearned is equal to 100% minus the percent earned.

Calculating Return of Title IV Aid Amount

Once the earned and unearned aid percentages are determined, the next step is to calculate the dollar amount of unearned aid that must be returned to the U.S. Department of Education. The return amount is determined by multiplying the unearned aid percentages by the total of all Title IV aid received.

School Portion of the Return

The amount of unearned aid that must be returned by WDTC is a percentage of the institutional charges (tuition and fees) for the term. Once the dollar amount of the school portion of the return is determined, it is compared to the total amount of all unearned aid. If a school’s portion is less than the total unearned aid, then WDTC must return the amount of the school portion. If the calculated school portion exceeds the total unearned aid, then WDTC must return the amount of the total unearned aid. After the school returns the correct amount of financial aid, any amount of the total unearned aid that remains becomes the student portion of the return. The student portion of the return is calculated by subtracting the amount of the school return from the total unearned aid.

Order of Aid to be Returned

Financial Aid will be returned to the aid program from which it came. If returned to a loan program, your outstanding balance will be reduced by the amount of the return. Financial Aid will be returned in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Direct PLUS Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The school must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of determination.

Grant Overpayment

Any amount of unearned grant funds that the student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment the student must repay is half the grant funds that were received or scheduled to receive. The student does not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. Arrangements must be made with WDTC or the U.S. Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds. The student will be notified of any grant overpayment within 30 days of the date the school determined the student withdrew.

Late or Post-Withdrawal Disbursement

If the student did not receive all of the funds that were earned prior to withdrawing, a post-withdrawal disbursement may be due. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, the student must give permission before the funds can be disbursed. Western Dakota Technical College may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. Permission is required to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. Students will be notified in writing of post-withdrawal disbursement eligibility for Federal Direct Loans within 30 days of the date of withdrawal determination to offer them the opportunity to accept all or part of their disbursement for Title IV loans. The student and/or parent need to respond within 14 days of notification of acceptance of post-withdrawal disbursement to be applied to institutional charges. 

Notification to Student

Once the Return to Title IV Funds calculation has occurred, the Financial Aid Office will notify the student via U.S. mail to the address on file within 5 days of the results of the calculation and the aid that was returned. The Student Accounts Office will notify the student of any outstanding balance now due to the institution as a result.

Example of Return to Title IV Calculations

1. A student withdraws from Western Dakota Tech after completing 34.9% of the total semester.

  • The semester began on January 8th and ended on May 11th
  • The student completely withdraws on February 14th
  • This is the 38th day of the semester that is 109 days long (or 34.9%)

Type of Aid

Financial Aid Disbursed                               

Total Aid Earned (student keeps)

Total Aid Unearned (returned to program)

Unsubsidized Direct Loan




Subsidized Direct Loan




Direct Plus Loan




Federal Pell Grant








2. Federal law states that the student has earned 34.9% of federal aid disbursed

3. 65.1% has been determined to be unearned aid.  The unearned aid are returned as follows:

  • Unsubsidized Direct Loan – $2,193 (returned by Western Dakota Tech)
  • Subsidized Direct Loan – $2,508 (student’s responsibility to repay in accordance with the terms of the borrower’s promissory note)

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