Withdrawal/Leave of Absence
Information on this page is also available in a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) format. Visit our Publication Section to view or print the Withdrawal/Leave of Absence FAQ in PDF format.
A withdrawal or leave of absence from the College is defined as a student who drops all of their courses after the published add/drop period in a given semester. Keep in mind to officially withdraw or take a leave of absence from the College you must follow established withdrawal/leave of absence procedures which can be obtained from the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. Based on the exact withdrawal date, the Office of Financial Aid will calculate the amount of aid earned and return the remainder of these funds to their respective source.
If a student leaves the College before they have completed 60% of the semester (approximately 8-9 weeks in), their financial aid award will be re-evaluated to determine, by fund, how much was EARNED based on the length of attendance and how much, if any, must be repaid to their respective sources. Calculations are done within 45 days on a case-by-case basis after the official date of withdrawal is established.
Your financial aid and tuition bill are subject to different prorating policies and rarely get adjusted at an equal percentage rate. Please visit The Bursar's Office for their refund policy.
It is not uncommon that the amount of aid you are able to keep is less than the prorated charges owed to the college. Please note , in some cases it may be possible you are no longer eligible for the original offer of aid and will be responsible for whatever charges remain. Students, who have already received a refund check from the Bursar’s Office, may owe money that must be returned to the college.
Keep in mind to officially return to the College you must follow established re-admittance procedures which can be obtained from the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies. In addition, you must still meet the financial aid deadline each year that is specific to you. Please visit the Applying for Aid section section to determine your deadline. Funding will be subject to availability for those who do not comply with the published renewal deadline regardless of current need level or prior year award. Please visit our late policies for more information.
A student who has earned grades of F or WD in all of their classes at the end of a semester will be considered withdrawn from the College unofficially for purposes of financial aid. A student receiving federal financial aid funds who drops out without notifying the College is considered to have withdrawn at the mid-point of the semester or withdrawn on the day of the last documented academic related activity. Therefore, the federal policy below does not apply and students will automatically have their federal aid prorated to 50%.
Withdrawing from one class
If you drop one class after the published add/drop period in a given semester, incur a bill for the class you are dropping and you earn a grade of WD in the class, then your financial aid will stay the same. Your financial aid eligibility is directly tied to what you are being charged by the College at the time of disbursement. Therefore, if you continued to be billed for the class you are dropping then your aid will stay in tact for the same credit load (full-time, ¾ time, half-time, less than half-time).
If you drop a class before or after the add/drop period in a given semester and you do not earn a grade of WD in the class, even if you are charged for all or part of the class, we cannot count that class towards your enrollment. If you fall below half-time after you drop the class, your federal loans will be cancelled. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant, the amount will be reduced to the less than half-time amount.
However, if you are given a refund for the class you are dropping we are obligated to review your financial aid eligibility at your new credit load and your aid may be reduced or cancelled depending on your situation. Just a reminder you need to be enrolled and billed for greater than 1/2 time enrollment (as defined by your academic program) in order to continue eligibility in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan and Perkins Loan Programs.
If you have federal money (including parent PLUS loans) it is prorated according to formula below.
Federal Proration Formula
Days Enrolled – Official Semester Breaks
------------------------------------------------------------ = % of Aid Earned
Total Number of Class Days in Semester
For example, let’s take a student who enrolled for 8 days in a semester that was 75 days long with no official breaks longer than 5 days. Using the formula below, you would subtract 8 from 0 then divide by 75 and determine the student has EARNED 10.6% of their aid which would then require 89.3% of unearned federal funding to be returned to the U.S. Department of Education. Please note, per current federal policy if a student has attended greater than 60% of the semester, then they are entitled to keep 100% of the federal money received in the semester they are separating from the College.
If one of your federal funds is the William D. Form Federal Direct Loan Program, each time you fully separate from the College you will be required to complete Exit Counseling. The Student Loan Office will notify you under separate cover with more detailed information on how to complete this requirement.
In addition, if you separate from the College for longer than 6 months, then you will most likely go into repayment for any William D. Form Federal Direct or Perkins Loan. The College sends enrollment verification reports to the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS) several times throughout the academic year. If you have withdrawn from the College, the information is sent to NSLDS who in turns will notify all the lending authorities you currently have outstanding loans with. Based on your official date of withdrawal, your lender will change your status from being in-school to entering your grace period. On average, a grace period is six months. If you are not back in school half-time or better before your grace period is up, you are obligated to begin repaying on your loans.
If you have state money it is subject to the individual policy held by the state or agency that awarded you the funding. Let’s take a student who was awarded a $700 Rhode Island State Grant (RISG). Monies from the state of Rhode Island follows a College’s institutional tuition refund policy established by the Office of the Bursar (see below). For example, if you leave the college during the first week of school your tuition bill is reduced by 80% and therefore so is your RISG (i.e. $560). This would leave you eligible for 20% of the original grant (i.e. $140) that would be applied to any outstanding charges you still had with the College.
Refunds for money from the state of Massachusetts are calculated in one of two ways. If a student did not receive any federal money during the semester they are separating from the College, then a student’s Massachusetts State Grant (MSG) is prorated according to the federal policy listed above. Whatever percentage the student has earned federally is also what they have earned for their state money. If a student has received federal money during the semester they are separating from the College, then a student’s MSG is either prorated according to the federal policy listed above or not at all. If a student still has remaining charges on their bill after cash payments, prorated federal and institutional aid has been applied then a student could keep 100% of their MSG instead of the initial federally prorated amount.
If you have any additional questions about other state refund policy, please contact the state agency administering your grant.
Institutional Need-Based and Merit-Based Aid
The amount of institutional merit and need-based aid a student is able to retain following a withdrawal or leave of absence is determined by calculating the original percentage of aid offered compared to the students original cost of attendance (COA) (i.e. direct and indirect expenses). If a student’s original merit and need-based aid constituted 20% of their original COA, the student would retain 20% of their merit and need based aid based on the new prorated COA. For example, a student’s original COA was $38,125 and original institutional aid offer was $22,000. This student’s original aid constituted 57.7% of their original COA. The prorated cost of attendance is now $18,250 and the student is still able to keep 57.7% of their original aid which would now be $10,530.25.
Alternative Loan Money
If you have borrowed alternative loan money it may also need to be prorated. If a student has borrowed $10,000 in the semester they are separating from the College they may only retain the dollar amount equaled to the unpaid balance on your billing statement after adjustments are made to your other aid. If your remaining bill is $2,500 the student is able to keep $2,500 and $7,500 would be returned to the lender who holds your loan.