If you plan to drop courses or plan to withdraw from all of your courses this semester, it is important to read through all of the information below. You must consider information on this list before you drop your course(s).
Please click on the following items to see more detailed information:
One of the most significant impacts that adjusting your enrollment can have is the requirement to return federal loans that you previously received. In some cases, the calculation can result in the federally-mandated return of all federal loans that you received for the semester.
If you have any question about your ability to continue in your course(s) for a semester, do not spend your financial aid refund. If you received a financial aid refund and subsequently drop to a level that requires a Return of Funds Calculation, you could end up owing Regent University the entirety of the refund as well as federal financial aid used to pay your student account balance–potentially thousands of dollars!
In cases where federal funds must be returned, and as a service to their students, Regent University returns all federal funds on the student’s behalf using university dollars. Subsequently, the student must pay the full balance to Regent University rather than the federal government.
In addition to federal loan adjustments, dropping your course(s) can affect all other sources of financial aid. Many grants and scholarships are awarded based on your enrollment. While each source of financial aid may have different minimum enrollment requirements, it is important to understand that financial aid and your enrollment are not mutually exclusive. One affects the other. You should not ever make an enrollment decision without consulting the financial aid office or policies for potential ramifications.
These additional adjustments can affect state grants (like VTAG for Virginia residents), private grants and scholarships, and even institutional financial aid (e.g., merit scholarships, need-based or other demographic awards). Furthermore, both TEACH grants and Pell grants, though federal, are awarded based on a student’s enrollment; therefore, they too are subject to adjustment or removal.
There are two dates that you need to understand. First, the date of your last participation in class (reported to us by the professor) affects how much of your financial aid may need to be returned or removed (see Return of Funds Calculation). Second, the date that you submit your request to withdraw from your course(s) affects whether or not you will receive any refund on your tuition charges for the semester. It is important to recognize and understand the difference between these two dates.
Pay close attention to the 100% add/drop period. If you drop your course(s) during the first or second week of classes, you will get a 100% refund on the tuition charges for those courses you drop. These refunds can help lessen the impact of the loss of financial aid due to Return of Funds Calculations.
If you drop your course(s) after the second week of class, you will not receive any refund on tuition charges and will be billed for the course(s) in which you are no longer enrolled. While you usually maintain eligibility for your institutional (Regent-funded) grants and scholarships in these cases, all other financial aid can and will be adjusted. If you drop after the refund periods and require the course(s) at a later date, you will be charged for them again when you re-enroll.
If you believe you have an extenuating circumstance that affects the stated policies above, you must petition the office of academic advising in your school of enrollment (e.g., Law, Divinity, Undergrad, etc.).
Review Regent’s Academic Calendar to figure out the specific Add/Drop periods in each semester.
Dropping courses should never be taken lightly because the impact can sometimes make you ineligible for future use of federal financial aid. Regent is required by law to set up and follow standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP; review the full policy here).
There are a number of ways that a student can fall below SAP; however, in relation to this discussion, students are required to complete a certain percentage of the courses that they attempt. If you enroll in a course and drop it, that is considered an attempt without completion. The more frequently you drop courses, the more likely it is that you will fail to meet the minimum SAP standard.
Undergraduates are required to complete 67% of the courses that they attempt; graduate students must complete at least 50% of the courses that they attempt. Additionally, students must complete their program in 150% of the program’s average length [e.g., Bachelor’s degrees are designed to be completed in 4 years, so a student must complete the program in 6 years (150% of 4 years) in order to maintain SAP standards].
If you are already on academic probation and previously had a SAP Appeal approved, make sure that dropping your course(s) is permitted by the academic plan you created during the SAP Appeal process. If not, you could unknowingly void your SAP Appeal and become ineligible for federal financial aid in the future.
Every loan owned by a student that is enrolled in college at a minimum of half-time is automatically placed into an In-School Deferment by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). While in deferment, you are not required to pay back your loans or interest that accrues. Retaining this deferment is beneficial to completing your degree program and allows you to stay focused on your academics rather than future financial obligations.
This is important to review before you drop your courses because dropping below half-time removes the In-School Deferment and places you into your grace period (the 6-month period where you are not required to start paying back your loans). Once this grace period is over, you will go into repayment on your loans. If you utilized your grace period on any of your loans prior to enrolling again, you will go into repayment on them immediately after adjusting to less than half-time enrollment.
Half-time enrollment varies depending on your degree level and degree type. For more information on what qualifies you as enrolled half-time at Regent University, please review the University Catalog.
Knowing much of the information discussed in this list previously, some students decide to cease active participation in their course but not officially withdraw from it. A student that does not officially withdraw from classes yet ceases to participate will receive an unearned F in their course. This is viewed the same as a withdrawal, and it can lead to a retroactive Return of Funds Calculation! It is considered an Unofficial Withdrawal.
Unofficial Withdrawals obligate Regent University to process Return of Fund Calculations, Aid Adjustments, and Billing Adjustments as though the student withdrew officially. There is no difference in process. Unfortunately, the financial aid office does not find out about unofficial withdrawals until after the conclusion of the semester. Many times, this creates unwelcome financial surprises for students, and it usually halts their enrollment in the next semester. This is not beneficial to achieving your academic and financial goals.
Effective July 1, 2013, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. This legislative change created time limits on how long undergraduate students can use Subsidized Loans and retain the interest subsidy on them. Much like the timeframe required to complete your degree (see Satisfactory Academic Progress), the U.S. Department of Education (ED) now limits a student’s eligibility for subsidized loans to 150% of the published timeframe for their specific program of study.
Generally speaking, if you enroll in a bachelor’s degree estimated to take 4 years to complete, you have 6 years of subsidized loan eligibility before you can no longer use it. Many undergraduate students will begin to run into this problem if they drop their courses too frequently. It is strongly advised that you review your borrowing and enrollment habits, monitor your borrowing history, and make well-informed enrollment decisions.
Starting now, you can monitor your borrowing history any time you want on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). You will need your FSA ID to login and complete a Financial Aid Review.
Also, there is a great Federal Resource that provides a thorough and useful fact sheet detailing the new law and how it works.
The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds that you may receive over your lifetime as an undergraduate student is limited by a federal law. The law limits Pell Grant eligibility to the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. Since the maximum amount of full-time Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%. For more information on understanding and calculating the 600% limit, please visit the government’s Pell Lifetime Eligibility page.
The reason it is important to review this before dropping your course(s) is that there are certain situations where you may drop a course and your Pell grant funds may not be pro-rated based on your enrollment. In those cases, you would receive Pell Grant funds that count toward your 600% limit for courses that you did not complete and will not count toward the completion of your degree. This may create the potential for you to run out of Pell Grant eligibility before you complete your degree.