Federal and State Grant Return Calculations
** If you have financial aid and it’s possible, please contact the Financial Aid office
to review your account prior to completely withdrawing from school. **
Return of Title IV Funds
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.
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 If a student is withdrawn from, ceases attendance in, or fails to complete all courses during their enrollment term, VGCC is required to determine how much of the original award has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.
The full enrollment term (payment period) for the fall and spring semesters is 16 weeks in length. For the summer, the full enrollment term is 8 weeks in length. VGCC offers some classes that span the entirety of the payment period. However, VGCC offers many classes that span less than the full length of the payment period (most frequently, two 8-week terms in the fall and spring and two 4-week terms in the summer). Courses that do not extend the full length of the payment period create two separate modular terms. If a student is withdrawn from, ceases attendance in, or fails to complete all courses during their respective enrollment term before completing more than 60%, VGCC is required to recalculate the student’s award based on the percentage of the term completed. The enrollment term for an individual student depends on whether they are enrolled in classes in only the first modular term, only the second modular term, both modular terms, or the full term. If a student is enrolled in only the first module, the 60% point is calculated by multiplying 60% by the number of days in the first module. If the student is enrolled in only the second module, the 60% point is calculated by multiplying 60% by the number of days in the second module. If the student is enrolled in both modules and/or in full term courses, the 60% point is calculated by multiplying 60% by the entire length of the payment period. 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 their 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.
On the other hand, if a student ceases enrollment after attending through 60% of the term, then the student has earned 100% of their Title IV award(s) for that period.
Note: This procedure is separate and apart from the State Refund Policy for tuition and fees.
State Refund Policy: https://www.vgcc.edu/bo/tuition-refund-policy
Vance–Granville Community College is an institution that requires attendance to be recorded in all courses. Therefore, a student’s official withdrawal date is their 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 prior to withdrawing 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 to a representative in the VGCC Financial Aid Office to determine how much financial aid, if any, they will be required to re-pay if ceasing attendance. Consulting these relevant parties ensures that the most informed decision can be made by the student.
VGCC uses two census dates. The first census date applies to students only enrolled in the first module and/or a course(s) that spans the whole pay period. The second census date applies to students enrolled in the second module, in the first and second module, or in the second module and course(s) spanning the full payment period. It is important to note that a student’s census date can change over the course of a semester if a student makes changes to enrollment.
|Class term||Census Date|
|First 8-week/16 week only||Financial Aid uses the 16-week census date|
|Second 8-week||Financial Aid uses the second 8-week census date (even if in combination with 16 -week classes and/or first 8-week classes)|
Unofficial Withdrawal Procedure for Federal Student Aid Purposes Only
The Return of Title IV Funds calculation can be required for reasons other than a student officially withdrawing from their 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.
Performing the Return of Title IV Funds Calculation
The percentage of Title IV aid earned by the student is calculated using the student’s withdrawal date. Using the withdrawal date, VGCC can determine how many days in the enrollment term (first module only, second module only, or full term) the student actually completed for credit hour programs. This is divided by the total number of days in the term, which results in the percentage of the term completed by the student. This same percentage is the percentage of Title IV aid earned by the student:
Number of days completed by student ÷ Total days in term
**Note: the total number of days in the term does not include scheduled breaks of more than 5 days
If the percentage of earned Title IV aid calculated is less than or equal to 60%, VGCC will be required to return to the Department of Education the remaining, unearned Title IV aid. The amount to be returned is the lesser of:
- The total amount of unearned Title IV aid; or,
- The percentage of unearned Title IV aid multiplied by all institutional charges incurred by the student for the payment period or period of enrollment.
Once a student’s award is re-calculated, the new award amount may no longer be sufficient to pay all unpaid charges due to VGCC. Any unpaid charges must be repaid by the student, in addition to the unearned financial aid due back to VGCC. As with any unpaid balance, students are not permitted to register for additional courses or obtain an official academic transcript until the balance is paid-in-full.
Effective July 1, 2021, any unearned Title IV aid resulting from this calculation will be returned by VGCC to the following programs, in the following order:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant
- Federal SEOG
- Other Title IV grant programs
In some cases, students will not have received all of the Title IV aid earned. In such cases, the student may be due a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement. This disbursement is comprised of any federal or state-funded grant programs in which VGCC participates. VGCC will apply this Post- Withdrawal Disbursement automatically to any unpaid tuition, fees, and other institutional charges.
Grant Overpayment from Return to Title IV calculation
Any amount of unearned grant funds that a student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that must be repaid is half of the grant funds a student received or was scheduled to receive. A student does not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. If a student has a grant overpayment, he/she will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office. The student must make arrangements with VGCC or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.
A student at VGCC is not subject to a return of funds calculation if they successfully complete one of the following:
- All requirements for graduation from their program before completing the days or hours in the period that the student was scheduled to complete
- One module that includes 49% or more of the number of days in the payment period, excluding scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days that apply to all students who enroll in the term and all days between modules. Successful completion means earning a passing grade.
- Coursework equal to or greater than the coursework required for a half-time student (at least 6 credit hours). Successful completion means earning a passing grade. This will preclude the student from being considered withdrawn if they pass at least 6 credit hours in one module and then withdraw from another module.
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), North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship (NCELS), and North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant 1 (NCLCG1), and North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant 2 (NCLCG2).
If a student is withdrawn on or before the 35% point of their enrollment term, 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:
- North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship (NCELS)
- North Carolina Community College Grant (NCCCG)
- North Carolina National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (NCTAP)
- North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant 1
- North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant
(these do not include every possible scenario, please contact the Financial Aid office to review your situation)
Census Date Change — Example
Scenario 1 – Student Registers for Both Modular Terms; Attending First But Not Second
A student originally enrolled for 10 credit hours in the Fall semester, with 6 hours in the first module and 4 hours in the second module. The student’s census date is October 18. On September 16, the student ceases attendance in both of their first module courses. The financial aid office is notified that the student has ceased attending after it is reported by the student’s instructor on September 21. The financial aid office performs an adjustment on the student’s account, prorating their award from three-quarter-time to less-than-half-time since they withdrew from 6 credit hours before census. At this point, a return of funds is not necessary since the student is still registered for a course in the second module and has therefore not completely withdrawn from the school. However, after census is taken on October 18, it is determined that the student never attended their second module course. Their census date is then changed to the first module census date of August 24. The financial aid office reverses the previously performed adjustment, and performs a return of funds
calculation with the date of withdrawal as September 16. The calculation is based on the less-than-half-time status.
Scenario 2 – Student Withdraws from First Modular Term and Later Enrolls in Second
A student enrolls in the first modular term for 5 credit hours. Their census date is August 24. The student completely withdraws on September 12. The financial aid office is notified on September 15, and performs a return of funds calculation. The student then registers for 6 credit hours in the second module on September 20. The financial aid office will reverse the return of funds calculation since the student is no longer deemed withdrawn. The student’s census date is now October 18, and the student is only eligible for the half-time allocation of aid based on their second module courses. In order to have earned the aid for which they were originally eligible from the first module as well, they would have needed to earn grades other than Ws.
Return of Funds Calculation — Example
VGCC’s Return of Title IV Funds policy is illustrated by the following example of a student who withdraws from classes in a credit hour program:
A VGCC student is registered for 6 credit hours in the first 8 week module and 6 credit hours for the second 8 week module for the Fall semester (the Fall semester is 116 days in length). The first 8 week module comprises less than 49% of the entire payment period, while the second 8 week module comprises more than 49% of the entire payment period. When the student withdraws from classes, it is determined that the student ceased attendance on the 62nd day of the payment period. At this point, the student had already completed the first 8 week module, receiving a B grade in one course and an F grade in another course. The student’s last date of attendance in their second 8 week classes was after the census date.
|Student’s Financial Aid and Charges||Dollar Amount|
|Federal Pell Grant||$2,873.00 (Total Financial Aid)|
|Tuition and Fees||$972.00|
|Excess Financial Aid Refunded to Student||$1,428.00|
VGCC is required to determine the amount of financial aid earned by the student, based on the percentage of total days attended for the Fall semester. VGCC will then need to determine how much aid to return. The amount to be returned is either a) the total amount of unearned Title IV aid, or b) the percentage of unearned Title IV aid multiplied by all institutional charges incurred by the student, whichever is less.
Percentage of Financial Aid Earned:
Completed Days ÷ Total Days in Payment Period = Percentage of Award Earned
62 days ÷ 116 days = 53.4%
Amount of Federal Financial Aid Earned:
Percentage of Award Earned x Total Aid Awarded = Earned award based on attendance
53.4% x $2,873.00 = $1,534.18
Amount of Financial Aid to be returned:
Total Aid Awarded – Earned award based on attendance = Financial Aid to be Returned
$2,873.00 – $1,534.18 = $1,338.82
College returns: $673.37
To determine the amount VGCC must return, compare the following amounts: (1) The total amount of unearned aid is $1,338.82. (2) The institutional charges of $1,445, multiplied by the unearned percentage of 46.6%, is $673.37. The College must return the lesser of these two, which is $637.37. VGCC returns the entire amount to be returned to the Department of Education. In turn, the student is responsible for re-paying the 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.