Cancellation of unearned aid

Cancellation of unearned aid - a federal requirement

If you withdraw from all of your courses, you may be required to repay a portion of your aid back to the university. 

  • We are required to determine the amount of aid you have earned based on the last day you attended. 
  • When aid is canceled, it is removed from your student account, creating a bill you must pay WSU.

Return of Title IV aid calculation policy

If you do this

This will happen

Drop all classes before the first day of the semester or do not attend any classes

100% of your aid will be canceled

Withdraw or stop attending after 20% of the semester has passed

80% of your aid will be canceled

Withdraw or stop attending after 40% of the semester has passed

60% of your aid will be canceled

Withdraw or stop attending after 60% of the semester has passed

No aid will be canceled

If you fail to earn any credits

Your instructor(s) will be asked to report your last day of attendance (LDA) and aid will be canceled based on the latest LDA

Completely withdrawing from ALL classes can negatively affect your eligibility for your financial aid funds. Withdrawing (officially or unofficially) could result in having to repay all or a portion of the financial aid back to Wayne State University. You can officially withdraw from classes through Academica. If you stop attending classes or fail to earn credits, you will be considered unofficially withdrawn.

You are encouraged to meet with your professors, academic advisor and utilize the tutorial services available before withdrawing from WSU. We strongly encourage you to meet with a financial aid advisor to discuss the effect on your financial aid of withdrawing from all classes, before making the decision to withdraw.

Return of Title IV aid calculation

The requirement to calculate a return applies to all federal Title IV financial aid. Title IV aid includes all federal student loans and grants.

The percentage of Title IV assistance earned is equal to the percentage of the payment period completed as of the withdrawal date. If the withdrawal date occurs after the 60 percent point, then the percentage of Title IV assistance earned is 100 percent.

The percentage of the payment period completed is calculated by dividing the total number of calendar days in the payment period into the number of calendar days completed as of your withdrawal date.The unearned amount of aid to be returned is calculated by subtracting the amount of aid earned from the amount of aid that was disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student in the case of a parent PLUS loan.

Withdrawal date

The withdrawal date is the earlier date of:

  • The date you began the withdrawal process; or
  • The date you otherwise provided the school with official notification of the intent to withdraw; or
  • The date we become aware that you ceased attendance; or
  • The midpoint of the payment period or period of enrollment for which Title IV assistance was disbursed if you cease to attend without official notification and withdrawal.

At WSU, the office designated for a student notification to withdraw is the WSU Office of the Registrar.

Official withdrawals

Information about dropping courses is available on the Office of the Registrar website.

Official withdrawals include medical withdrawals, exceptions to enrollment appeals and any student who has been administratively withdrawn or expelled.

Unofficial withdrawals

Non-Attendance, by itself, is not an acceptable reason for not dropping a class in a timely manner.

If you do not receive ANY "earned" grades you are considered unofficially withdrawn for purposes of determining your eligibility for aid. We are required to assume you stopped attending your courses prior to the end of the term.

This includes any combination of the following grades for all courses for the semester:

W,WP,WF, N, UNC, U, NR, NC, NCR, E, F or I

If we have confirmation from your instructors of a last date of attendance,  we will calculate your earned aid based on the latest date. If your instructors indicate you did not attend any courses, all of your aid will be canceled. 

Grade changes

We will review grade changes that occur within 30 days after the last day of the semester. If we were required to complete a Return of Title IV Funds calculation, the calculation may be revised.

Spring or summer session withdrawals

If you withdraw from all courses in any summer session, and do not indicate your intent to attend courses, we are required to calculate an amount of financial aid to return to federal programs. This may leave you with a balance owed to the university.

Withdrawal from modules

If you withdraw from current classes, but are registered in a later-starting class for the semester, we are required to calculate the amount of unearned aid to return to federal programs, unless, you indicate in writing or by completing our secure online form, that you will attend the future courses.

Retroactive withdrawals

If funds have been returned for a student based on his or her official or unofficial withdrawal, those funds cannot be reinstated if the student petitions for, and receives, a retroactive withdrawal (official, medical withdrawal, or exception to enrollment).

Students in the MD program

You are considered to have withdrawn from the MD program for Title IV purposes in the following instances:

  • You do not complete all the days in the payment period or period of enrollment that you were scheduled to complete.
  • If you stop attending a course that does not span the semester we must have written notification at the time of the withdrawal that you will attend another course that begins in the same payment period no later than 45 days after the end of the course that you stopped attending.
  • You take a leave of absence. The WSU School of Medicine (SoM) has a formal policy regarding leave of absence. For financial aid purposes, all leaves of absence will be treated as a withdrawal effective the first day of the leave and a return calculation of federal student aid will be performed. A return calculation could result in having to repay all or a portion of your financial aid back to Wayne State University.

Order of return of funds

If you officially or unofficially withdraw from WSU prior to completing 60% of the semester, the aid you received will be returned in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  3. Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  7. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH)

Any federal college work-study funds that you have earned prior to your withdrawal are yours to keep and will not be returned.

WSU will return unearned funds back to the aid program and the student will be responsible for any balance this creates. If you have questions about paying your WSU account balance, please contact the Student Accounts Receivable Office.

Timeframe for the return of funds

WSU must return the funds as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date of its determination that the student withdrew. An institution must determine the withdrawal date for a student that does not provide notification to the institution no later than 30 days after the end of the earlier of the payment period or period of enrollment.

Post-withdrawal disbursement

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, we must get your permission before we can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don't incur additional debt.

We will automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school).

We will need your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If you do not give your permission, you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow us to apply the funds to your account balance to reduce your debt at WSU.


We will notify you within 30 days of our determination that you withdrew and owe Title IV funds to WSU.

Responsibility for return of unearned aid

We will return all unearned funds back to the aid program and you will be responsible for any balance this creates.