Federal and State Grant Return Calculations

Return of Title IV Funds Procedure

Note:  These procedures/calculations are separate and apart from the State Refund Policy for tuition and fees.

The Return of Title IV funds procedure shall apply to all students who withdraw, drop out or are expelled from Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC) and receive financial aid from Title IV funds.  “Title IV Funds” refers to the Federal financial aid programs authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended).  Of those programs, VGCC participates in and offers funds from the Federal Pell Grant and Federal SEOG programs.  The Financial Aid Office encourages student to carefully read the complete copy of the Return of Federal and State Funds procedure.  Students may also request a copy in the Financial Aid Office.

Title IV Funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded.  If a student is withdrawn from, ceases attendance in, or fails to complete all courses during the enrollment term, VGCC is required to determine how much of the original award has been “earned” by the student.  This determination is referred to as a “Return of Funds” calculation.  In many cases, the student will be required to repay any “unearned” financial aid as a result of this calculation.

If a student is withdrawn from, ceases attendance in, or fails to complete all courses during the enrollment term before completing more than 60%, VGCC is required to recalculate the student’s award based on the percentage of the term completed.  Both VGCC and the student may be responsible for returning a percentage of the unearned aid.  For example, if a student ceases attendance after only attending through 30% of the term, then 70% of the student’s original award will be returned to the Department of Education by VGCC (only 30% of the original award is “earned;” the remaining 70% is “unearned” since the student did not attend during this portion of the term).  The student, in turn, will be required to re-pay this same amount to VGCC.  A student who requires a Return of Funds calculation will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office.  In addition, the Business Office will mail the student an invoice for the balance due.

On the other hand, if a student ceases enrollment after attending through 60% of the term, then the student has earned his/her Title IV award(s) for that period. 

Withdrawal Date

Vance-Granville Community College is an institution that requires attendance to be recorded in all courses.  Therefore, a student’s official withdrawal date is his/her last date of attendance at a documented academically-related activity.

For these reasons, it is extremely important for VGCC students to consider all possible options before withdrawing from or ceasing attendance in classes.  Before withdrawing, students should consult their respective instructors, advisors, and/or academic and career coaches.  In addition, students should speak with a representative in the VGCC Financial Aid Office to determine how much financial aid, if any, he/she will be required to re-pay if ceasing attendance.  Consulting these relevant parties insures that the most informed decision can be made by the student.

Unofficial Withdrawal Procedure for Federal Student Aid Purposes Only

The Return of Title IV Funds calculation is not only required if a student officially withdraws from all classes.  A student who stops attending class or leaves VGCC without following the official procedures for withdrawal from a course or from VGCC is subject to receiving a grade of Withdrawal, ‘W’ or Failing, ‘F’/’RF’, posted on his/her record for each course in question.  When a student receives all F’s, W’s, or a combination of these grades for a semester, he or she may be defined as ‘unofficially withdrawn’ for Title IV purposes. 

Failure to complete courses may also have a significant impact on a student’s financial aid status. At the end of each term, the student’s last date of attendance of the enrollment period is used for the Return of Title IV Funds calculation, based on this length of attendance. Unofficially withdrawn students will be billed for resulting institutional charges and repayments of Federal Student Aid.


Return of Funds for State Grant Awards

The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) requires VGCC to complete a “Return of Funds” calculation if a student withdraws from or ceases attendance in all courses for the semester.  VGCC must return funds if the student withdraws or ceases attendance on or before the 35% point of the term.  Like calculations for federal financial aid awards, the last date of attendance is used to determine the amount of state aid earned by the student.  Of state initiatives available in North Carolina, VGCC participates in and offers aid to students from the North Carolina Community College Grant (NCCCG) and North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship (NCELS).

Official Withdrawal

If a student is withdrawn on or before the 35% point of the payment period, VGCC is required to prorate any disbursed state awards used for non-institutional expenses.  The resulting calculation determines the amount of state funds to be returned.

Unofficial Withdrawal/”Unearned” Failing grades

The student’s last date of attendance is used by VGCC to determine the amount of state awards to be returned; the same calculation method is used as that used for official withdrawals.

Once VGCC has completed the “Return of Funds” calculation for students, if state funds need to be returned, they are returned in the following order:

  1. North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship (NCELS)
  2. North Carolina Community College Grant (NCCCG)
  3. North Carolina National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (NCTAP)