One of the murky corners of financial aid deals with withdrawals during the semester. Nobody plans on this happening, but it can be a financial headache.
You financial aid credits are to cover your whole semester. As you progress through the term, you “earn” the financial aid that was provided to you at the start of the term. If you withdraw before the end of the semester, you may not be entitled to all of the aid that you have received. You then fall into a tangled web of refund policies that are controlled by College and federal regulations. As a result, you may owe a lot of money back to W&M.
The problem is especially acute if you are an off-campus student who has received a financial aid refund for your living expenses. Here’s an example:
- 5,700 Spring semester tuition and fees for a Va resident
- 11,500 Spring aid credits
- 5,800 Refund
If you withdraw this week (Feb. 22-26), the sixth week of the semester, you will have to pay 60% of your tuition and fee charge. Under federal regulations, the aid adjustments work differently, so you will have “earned” only 34% of your total aid. As a result of the changes, here are your revised charges and credits:
- 3,420 Revised tuition and fees
- 3,910 Revised aid
- 490 Revised refund
But you have already received 5,800 in a refund. You will have to return the 5,310 difference between the original and revised refund. This will undoubtedly be a real financial hardship for you, but it will have to be repaid before you can return to the College or receive transcripts, if you wish to transfer. You can read more about withdrawals at the Student Accounts site http://www.wm.edu/offices/financialoperations/sa/refunds/withdrawals/.
One final point. The Dean of Students (DOS) approves withdrawals that occur before the end of the ninth week of the semester. However, federal aid regulations still require a reduction in aid for about 10 days after the ninth week. You could therefore withdraw before the DOS date and still owe the College money after we make the aid change.
See you next time.