Skip to Main Content
Salisbury University BW
A Maryland University of National Distinction
navigation icon opens header SALISBURY UNIVERSITY

Financial Aid Office mobile navigation icon - click to toggle slide


How Dropping or Withdrawing Affects Your Financial Aid

Tips to Manage Your Financial Aid

  1. Plan Ahead: Minimize your financial risk by selecting classes carefully, balancing your most difficult classes against your other courses and family and work demands.
  2. Understand the Rules for Your Award: Review financial aid policies to understand what is expected of you to maintain your eligibility and keep your financial aid.
  3. Know the Consequences: Be sure that you understand what will happen if you drop, withdraw, or fail to complete your classes. A financial aid counselor can help determine your financial liability.
  4. Consider Your Options Before You Drop or Withdraw: Talk to the faculty member teaching your class to see if there is anything you can do to complete the class. Make sure you have explored all options for assistance.

Types of Aid and Enrollment

Federal student financial aid is awarded under the assumption you will be enrolled full-time for the semester. Any time you change your enrollment, SU’s Financial Aid Office must review your record and recalculate your aid. Federal (Title IV) aid includes the following programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans
  • Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Enrollment changes can also affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress, which ultimately affects your aid eligibility. Learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress.

NOTE: Students who are withdrawn completely from classes during the tuition refund period will have their scholarship and institutional aid (which also includes tuition waivers for Non-Resident Nursing Students, Foster Care Recipients, and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth) prorated based on the tuition proration schedule. Maryland Higher Education Commission requires total cancellation of Maryland state award(s) when a student withdraws from all classes during the tuition refund period.

How Enrollment Changes Affect Your Aid

  • If you drop or withdraw from classes (officially or unofficially-drop out), you may jeopardize future eligibility for student aid (including loans). Learn more about drop and withdrawal.
  • If your enrollment drops below half-time, your financial aid awards may be adjusted, and the grace period before repayment of loans will begin.
  • If you withdraw (officially or unofficially-drop out) and didn’t complete more than 60 percent of the semester, you may have to repay financial aid according to the Return of Title IV Funds policy.

Regulations Regarding Withdrawal-Dropping Credits Taken in Sessions


Effective July 1, 2011 federal regulations aim to provide for consistent and equitable treatment of students who withdraw from a program measured in credit hours, regardless of whether courses in the program span the entire term or consist of shorter sessions.


  • Payment period – the total number of calendar days that a student is scheduled to complete prior to ceasing attendance, including breaks in enrollment for less than five days.
  • Session – course that does not span the entire payment period.
  • Withdrawal – a student is considered to have withdrawn if the student does not complete all the days in the payment period that the student was scheduled to complete prior to ceasing attendance.
  • Payment period completed – the total number of calendar days within the payment period that a student completed prior to ceasing attendance, including breaks in enrollment of less than five days.
  • Percentage of the payment period completed – “payment period completed” divided by “payment period.”
  • Academically-related activity – an exam, tutorial, on-line (not just logging on), submitting an assignment, or attending a study group assigned by the SU. Academic counseling and academic advising are not considered academically-related activities.

Program Integrity Principles:

  • Title IV funds are awarded to a student to attend an entire payment period or period of enrollment, and the funds are intended to cover the student’s educational and living expenses for the entire period.
  • Federal law specifies that a student earns Title IV funds on a pro-rated basis through 60 percent of a period based on the actual days completed in the semester (less any scheduled break of five or more days).

A Session is any class that does not span the full length of the semester or term. For example:

  • A student would be considered to have enrolled in sessions if they enroll in the fall term with two sessions that are offered sequentially, are both 7 weeks long, and they have the option to enroll in either session or both sessions.
  • A student would be considered to have enrolled in sessions if they enroll in courses that span the entire payment period AND have also enrolled in courses that don’t span the entire length of the payment period.

For all classes offered in sessions, a student will be considered to have withdrawn if they did not complete all of the days in which they were scheduled for the payment period.

A student will still be considered enrolled for the Session II if, at the time they withdraw from Session I, they provide Salisbury University with written confirmation stating they plan on attending a course later in the same period.

  • If they answer No, the drop will be reviewed to determine if a Return of Title IV calculation should be performed.
  • If they answer Yes, the student is providing written confirmation of their intent to return, and a return of funds calculation will not be done at that time.
  • If a student confirms his or her intent to return to Session II and does not actually return, the Return of Title IV Funds policy will be calculated using the actual date the student stopped attending or the date the session II was dropped.

The following three questions will be used to determine whether a student in a program offered in sessions is a withdrawal and if the Return of Title IV Funds requirements apply:

Question 1: After beginning attendance in the payment period, did the student cease to attend or fail to begin attendance in a course he or she was scheduled to attend?

If the answer is no, this is not a withdrawal. If the answer is yes, go to question 2.

Question 2: When the student ceased to attend or failed to begin attendance in a course he or she was scheduled to attend, was the student still attending any other courses?

If the answer is yes, this is not a withdrawal; however other regulatory provisions concerning aid recalculation may apply. If the answer is no, go to question 3.

Question 3: Did the student confirm attendance in a later session (Session II)? If the answer is yes, this is not a withdrawal, unless the student does not return.

If the answer is no, this is a withdrawal and the Return of Title IV Funds requirements apply.

These rules may impact a student if they enrolled in sessions and withdraw from one or more sessions in the term, even if they have already completed some credits. The calculation to determine the percentage completed is now based on the calendar days scheduled to be completed prior to withdrawing REGARDLESS of any courses completed that are less than the length of the term. The percentage of completion will depend greatly on the timing of when you drop the courses which may determine whether this will be considered a withdrawal or require a recalculation of your awards.

For example, you enroll in two sessions for a total of 7 credits.

  • You complete Session I for four credits but drop the Session II classes while still enrolled in Session I (August 28 and October 16, 2017). No Title IV Return of Funds calculation is required; However your Federal aid would need to be adjusted to less than half-time; no Direct Loan funds could be received after dropping below half-time, and the cost of attendance (COA) will be recalculated to exclude periods of non-attendance, so your financial aid previously awarded may be reduced and you would need to return those funds.
  • You complete Session I for four credits but drop or withdraw from Session II after Session I ended (on or after October 17, 2017). Return of Title IV funds calculation is required; so your financial aid previously awarded may be reduced and you would need to return those funds.

- Top -

Need help or have questions about this page? Please visit our Ask a Question or Report a Problem page.
Salisbury University 1101 Camden Avenue Salisbury, MD 21801 410-543-6000