How Withdrawals (Ws) and Fs Can Impact Your Aid

Of course, withdrawals and F grades can impact your SAP and prevent you from getting aid in future semesters. However, they can also create a balance you have to pay back. If it is unearned, Fs can cause you to repay some of your financial aid. An unearned F is an F with a last day of attendance more than 7 days before the last day of the semester.

Know your census date – it is critical to calculating your aid!

If you are enrolled in:

  • Only the first 8 weeks: use the first 8-week census date
  • First 8 weeks and 16 weeks: use the 16-week census date
  • In any second 8 weeks class: use the second 8-week census date

Your census date determines how withdrawals and unearned Fs impact your aid eligibility.  Any class dropped before the census will lose its financial aid eligibility. 


Student: Van Guard – Award for the semester: $1,000, tuition for the semester $140 ($10 per credit hour)

Degree Choice: General Education Associates (A10300S)

Example Schedule

  • 3 credit hours = ENG-111-E103 – first 8-week class
  • 3 credit hours = PHI-240-Z190 – first 8-week class
  • 3 credit hours = MAT-172-E01 – 16-week class
  • 4 credit hours = BIO-112-E330 – second 8-week class
  • 1 credit hour  = ACA-122-Z393 – second 8-week class

14 credit hours total (full time) = 100% of aid

Example Fall Census Dates

First 8 weeks: August 17

16 weeks:  August 23

Second 8 weeks: October 16

The first check disbursement is September 15.  Van is enrolled in 9 credit hours of active classes as of disbursement and will receive $750 of aid (75% or 9/12):  $750 (1000 x 75%) -$140 tuition (14 x 10)=$610 refund

Withdraws from ENG-111-E103 on the last day to withdraw for the first 8-weeks: August 20

Receives an F for PHI-240-Z190 with a last day of attendance or an academic-related activity.  The last day of attendance: September 30

Scenario 1

Van is enrolled in the second 8-week classes, so the semester’s census date is October 16.  According to Federal Financial Aid guidelines, the census date is always the latest census date in the classes for which the student is enrolled for the semester.

Van is still enrolled in MAT-172, BIO-112, and ACA-122, so this is not a total withdrawal.

However, both classes have a last day of attendance before the census date of October 16.  Financial Aid has to be removed for these two classes, and the enrollment drops from 9 to 3 credit hours.  $250 or 3/12 to 25% of aid.  The $500 from the earlier disbursement is due to the school.  Depending on the last day of attendance, this could be classified as an overpayment and would have to be turned over to the Department of Education for collection.

When the second 8 weeks start and Van attends past census, Financial Aid is earned for those 5 credit hours or 42% or 420.00.   This would still leave Van owing the school $80 and Van would not have any funds to help with books or get a refund.

Scenario 2:

Van is a no-show for the second 8-week classes.  Van only attended first 8-week and 16-week classes.  So, for the semester, the census date has been changed to August 23.

The withdrawal from ENG-111-E103 is before the new census date, and the financial aid enrollment must be adjusted from 9 credit hours to 6 credit hours.  The aid changed from 75% (9/12) to 50% (6/12), a 25% difference or $250.  Van will owe back the complete $250.  There are no second 8-week classes to earn any additional aid.  The unearned F does not impact the financial aid earned because it is past the census date, and the student is still enrolled in the 16-week class.

EACH SCENARIO CAN BE COMPLICATED! Please reach out to a Financial Aid Specialist for assistance. Financial Aid wants to give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

For more information:

Total withdrawals cause an R2T4 calculation.

If your total withdrawal letter indicates you have an overpayment for the Department of Education, refer to the Repayment Process.

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