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Return to Title IV (aka R2T4)

General Philosophy

Federal Student Aid funds are awarded to a student with the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded.  When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive.

What if I Withdraw?

The U.S. Department of Education has required institutions and students to repay or refund unearned student aid funds for many years.  Student aid may be considered unearned if a student withdraws completely during a term in which federal Title IV money was received.  Refund and repayment regulations specify, in a complex formula, exactly how much is due back to the federal programs from the institution and/or the student. The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 adopted a new approach for the return of unearned federal funds. The new approach became law on October 7, 1998 and was implemented in the 2000/2001 year.

Schools have certain responsibilities if a student with Title IV funds:

      • Officially withdrawals
      • Unofficially withdrawals (aka All F’s)

Official Withdrawals

A student receiving federal funds may be required to repay aid determined to be "unearned." The earned/unearned calculation is based on the percentage of days the student attended during the term in which they withdrew. The amount of aid the student has earned is determined on a pro-rata basis. That is, if the student completed 30% of the term in which they withdrew, the student earns 30% of the aid received. Once the student has completed 60% of the term, the student is considered to have earned all of the aid.

The difference between the earned federal aid and 100% of the award equals the percentage of unearned federal funds that are subject to repayment. Federal regulations require Title IV aid to be refunded in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan
  2. Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan
  3. Federal Pell Grant
  4. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

The college, as well as the student may be required to return to the federal government the unearned portion of the Title IV funds. Collin College will require a student to repay charges resulting from the institution's portion of the return of unearned Title IV aid. This may cause the student to owe both the college and the federal government.

A student who withdraws prior to disbursement may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement.

Unofficial Withdrawals

If a student does not receive a passing grade in any of their classes at the end of the term (i.e. all F’s or a combination of all F’s and W’s), the Return of Title IV Funds calculation will be done after grades are posted for the term and it will be assumed the student unofficially withdrew at the 50% point of that term.

Confirmation of active participation at the 61% point will be required by at least one instructor and will be verified before the R2T4 calculation is processed. It is the student’s responsibility to contact instructors for proof of participation. 

The determination of withdrawal will be made within 30 days after the end of the term. The Return of the Title IV Funds calculation will be made within 30 days of the date of determination, and unearned funds that the school is required to return will be repaid no later than 45 days after the date of determination.


Any loan funds the student must return, the student (or their parents for a PLUS Loan) may repay in accordance with the terms of the loan promissory notes. That is, the student makes scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.

For grants, the law requires the student return 50% of any unearned grant funds received. Any amount the student is required to return is considered a grant overpayment.

A student is not required to return any monies earned through the Federal Work Study program.

A student who owes an overpayment has 45 days to repay the college in full or it will be reported to the Department of Education and the National Student Loan Database (NSLDS). If the overpayment is not repaid within the 45 days, the student will not be able to receive further financial aid from any college until the overpayment has been paid.

If you are thinking of withdrawing or just leaving...please think again.

Immediately see an academic advisor and/or financial aid advisor and discuss your academic or personal reasons for leaving. Perhaps you can stay but take fewer courses. Maybe there are services (like tutoring or personal support) that will help you stay. Talk to your teachers; see what advice and help they can offer.

Collin College Return to Title IV Policy

To see the "official" Collin College Return to Title IV Policy, click here.

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