Leave of Absence and Withdrawals

Financial Aid Refund Policy

Students are strongly encouraged to contact their financial aid counselor if they are considering taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from the institute to discuss the financial ramifications.

Tuition Refund Schedule

Partial refunds will be made according to the following withdrawal schedule.

Return of Federal Funds

In accordance with federal regulations, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships recalculates federal aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are suspended, stop attending all classes, or take a leave of absence prior to completing more than 60 percent of a semester.

“Withdrawal date” is defined as the actual date of the student's last date of recorded academic related activity, or the midpoint of the semester if a student leaves without notifying the university. Recalculation is based on the percent of earned aid using the following formula:

Number of days completed up to the withdrawal date / Total days in the semester

Financial aid returned to federal programs is then equal to 100 percent minus the percentage earned multiplied by the amount of federal aid disbursed.

Example: Jack takes a leave of absence on the 18th day of the semester. But his last date of recorded academic related activity (also known as his withdrawal date) is the 15th day of the semester. The semester has 100 days. 15 days completed divided by 100 days in the semester = 15%. Since the percentage of days completed is less than 60 percent, per federal regulations the student is allowed to retain 15% of the federal aid that has disbursed, and RIT must return 85% of the federal aid that has disbursed. This may cause Jack to owe a balance to RIT.

Funds are returned to the federal government in the following sequence:

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  2. Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
  3. Federal Graduate PLUS Loans
  4. Federal Parent PLUS Loans
  5. Federal Pell Grants
  6. Federal Supplemental Educational Grants (SEOG)
  7. Other federal grants

If you receive (or RIT or parent receives on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, RIT must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:

  1. Your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or
  2. The entire amount of excess funds.

RIT must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds.

If RIT is not required to return all of the excess funds, you must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a PLUS loan) repay in accordance with the
terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.

Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were
scheduled to receive. You do not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. You must make arrangements with RIT or the Department of Education
to return the unearned grant funds.

This policy is based on 34 CFR, Section 668.22 of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Late Disbursement

If the student is otherwise eligible, the first disbursement of Federal Direct Subsidized Loan or Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan proceeds is allowed up to 180 days after the student has ceased to be enrolled. Subsequent disbursements are not allowed.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement

Based on your confirmed last date of academic-related activity, if you earned more aid than was disbursed to you, RIT may owe you a post-withdrawal disbursement.  If the calculation determines that you are due a post-withdrawal disbursement, RIT must automatically process your post-withdrawal disbursement of federal grant funds within 45 days. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes federal loan funds, RIT must offer these funds to you within 30 days and receive your permission before the funds can be disbursed. We will give you at least 14 days to choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. If you do not give your permission for the federal loan funds to be disbursed, we will assume you are declining the federal loan funding.

All post-withdrawal disbursements will be applied to your student account to pay tuition, fees, room and board charges first.  If you authorized the use of Title IV financial aid funds for non-institutional expenses, such as parking expenses, these funds will pay these expenses last. After all post-withdrawal aid is disbursed, if this results in a credit balance, RIT will issue a refund of the new credit balance as soon as possible and no later than 14 days after determining the percentage of federal aid you earned. 

State Scholarships

Regulations vary. Any adjustments are done in accordance with the specific requirements of the sponsoring state.

Privately Funded Grants and Scholarships

In the absence of specific instructions from the sponsor, 100 percent of the semester award will be credited to the student’s account.  Please contact your donor to determine the impact to those funds based on the change to your enrollment status.  

Alternative Educational Loans

If tuition, room, and board charges (COA) are reduced and the student has an account credit balance after all federal aid, state aid, institutional aid, and private scholarship funding has been amended, return term alternative loan by the remaining credit balance. Funding will be returned to the lender/servicer of the alternative loan. Funding does not need to be returned if the student has a $0 balance or owes a balance.

RIT Grants and Scholarships

Institutional funding such as RIT grants and scholarships are prorated based on the tuition refund schedule for withdrawal during a semester.

Example: A student withdrew from RIT before the end of a semester. Based on the student’s last date of attendance, 50% of the student’s tuition was refunded.

The student had been awarded $4,000 in RIT Grant funding and $8,000 in RIT Merit-based Scholarship funding for the semester. Since the student qualified for a 50% tuition refund, 50% of his RIT Grant ($2,000) and 50% of his RIT Merit-based Scholarship ($4,000) will be returned to RIT.

Student Loans

Students taking a Leave of Absence or withdrawing from the Institute should be prepared for the impact that these courses of action may have on their educational loans.

Leave of Absence - six months (180 days) or less:

  • Your federal loans will enter into grace. Federal Direct student loans have a six month grace period, and Federal Perkins Loans have a nine month grace period.
  • During a grace period, you are not required to make payment on your federal student loans.
  • If you return to school (at least half-time) within the grace period, your federal student loans re-enter into an “in school” status. You are not required to make payments with this “in school” status.
  • You will want to contact the lender(s) of any private student loans you may have to determine whether you are required to make any payments when you are not enrolled in classes or co-ops. Many private lenders offer six month grace periods.

Leave of Absence - Greater than six months (180 days) or a Withdrawal

  • Federal Direct student loans will enter into repayment. If you are unable to make payment, you will need to contact your student loan servicer to determine if you qualify for a deferment (unemployment deferment, economic hardship deferment, etc.) or forbearance to postpone payments. If you do not qualify for a deferment or forbearance, then you may be eligible to have your monthly payment amount reduced based on different repayment plans. If you do not know who your federal student loan servicer is, you will find their contact information through the StudentAid.gov.
  • Federal Perkins Loans will enter into repayment after the nine month grace period has been exhausted. If you are unable to make payment, please contact the servicer ECSI to determine if you qualify for a deferment or forbearance based on your current financial situation.
  • Private or Alternative Student Loans - Contact your loan holder to make payment arrangements.

You only qualify for one grace period per federal student loan. Once the grace period for a federal student loan has been exhausted, you must make payments unless you have been approved for a deferment or forbearance. Additional information about federal student loans can also be found at StudentAid.gov.