This year the Department of Education has updated the Return to Title IV (R2T4) funds policy in an effort to hold both students and institutions accountable for those funds received from the federal government to support higher education. This new policy can be read in its entirety in the Financial Aid Handbook and online at: http://www.nvcc.edu/current-students/paying-for-college/financial-assistance/letters/125-119.pdf. As with most fiscal policies, it is very easy to get caught up in the policy verbiage and legal terms that comprise these documents; when as a college student your main perspective is “Will I Owe Money Back?”
To help answer that question the College Financial Aid Staff is making a conscious effort to help you better understand this policy and how it will impact you as you make decisions regarding your education here at NOVA. First and foremost, a student who attends and completes at least one course that spans the entire term will have earned the aid for that term. Key point: earn your aid, complete your classes!
College experience is intertwined with that ever changing enigma called life and we know how that creates situations where there are needs for adjustments and changes as you pursue your educational goals. As a recipient of federal student aid you should know that if you are awarded aid for a term and you are not actively enrolled in class at any point in that term, you most likely will have to return that aid to the government. Key point: attendance/enrollment is essential to earning your aid.
Now when you are faced with the decision to drop or withdraw from a course. How will you know if you will owe money back? Here are (3) three simple questions to help you make that determination:
- Did you cease to attend a course that you were scheduled to attend? (If No, then you are earning your aid – keep up the good work; if YES, ask the question 2.)
- At the time you stopped attending this course, were you currently attending other courses? (If yes, you are not a withdrawal; if NO, you are a withdrawal and should ask the question 3.)
- At the time of withdrawal, did you provide written confirmation of anticipated attendance in a later starting, registered course within the same term? (If yes, no Return to Title IV calculation is required however, should you not attend or fail to complete the later starting registered course a Return to Title IV will be required. If NO, you are considered a withdrawal, and a Return to Title IV calculation must be completed.)
Do you I money back? Unfortunately, there are times when the answer to that question will be yes. However, if you keep these key points in mind: (1) earn your aid, complete your classes; (2) attendance/enrollment is essential to earning your aid, and review these three questions prior to making a decision to drop or withdraw from a course and you will be on your way to earning your federal aid and achieving your educational goals here at NOVA.
In closing, always consult with your financial aid representative if you have any questions concerning your aid or about the impact a decision you may make will have on your current financial aid. Remember, your financial aid is an integral part of your academic/professional success so treat it accordingly – be proactive and not reactive.