The College engages its faculty and assigns residence hall space in advance of each semester in accordance with the number of students who have signified intent to be enrolled. When students withdraw during the term, they leave vacancies that cannot be filled. The following rules concerning refunds protect Grinnell from losses when students withdraw.

A student withdrawing from the College within the first six weeks of the term is held responsible for tuition, housing, food, and other fees on a prorated basis as of the date the student withdraws. The prorated charge for housing and food will be calculated based on the date the student officially leaves campus. If a student withdraws after six weeks into the term, no tuition, housing, food, and other fees will be refunded. The same policy applies to emergency leaves.

Tuition, housing, food, and other fees will not be refunded for students suspended or dismissed for academic or conduct reasons during the term. For all other students, the last date of attendance (if known) or the date the student contacted Academic Advising will be used to determine the length of attendance during the term.

The College will comply with all applicable mandated federal and state refund policies related to military and/or other service.

If a student, or the spouse of a student with a dependent child, is a member of the National Guard or reserve forces of the United States and is called to active duty, the following options are available to the student for a semester when the orders are received:

  • The student may withdraw from all courses currently attending and receive a refund of any student payments made toward tuition and fees.
  • Apply for all incompletes with the Registrar’s Office. If a student takes the incomplete option, tuition and fees will still be assessed for the semester, and no refund will be issued.
  • The student may decide to do a combination of withdrawing from certain courses and applying for incompletes for other courses. In this situation, tuition will be assessed on a per-credit basis and the activity fee will be charged. Financial aid will be adjusted based on the revised enrollment with a refund of student payment possible after the adjustment of the cost of attendance and financial aid.

Financial Assistance

Federal student aid funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws before completing more than 60% of the term, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of the federal student aid that the student was originally scheduled to receive.

If a student received all F’s due to ceasing to attend courses, the student is considered to have unofficially withdrawn. With an unofficial withdrawal, the withdrawal date will be either the last date of attendance if it can be documented or the 50% point of the term. If the professors have indicated a last date of attendance when the F grade was reported, the College will use that as the date of withdrawal. If the College cannot document a last day of attendance, the 50% point of the semester will be used as the last date of attendance. Depending on the last date of attendance, federal funds may need to be returned to the Department of Education based on a prescribed federal refund calculation.

Based on a prescribed federal refund calculation the percentage of the term attended is used to calculate the amount of the student's earned/unearned federal student aid funds. The unearned portion of federal student aid funds will be returned to the appropriate aid program(s). Because professors are contacted to verify enrollment, this process can take time, depending on the responsiveness of the professors. However, federal funds will be returned to the federal programs no later than 45 days after the College determined that the student left during the semester.

Federal financial aid is disbursed on the first day of the term if all federal disbursement requirements are met, so it is unusual for a student to have earned more financial aid than what was disbursed. However, this could occur if a student completes federal verification after withdrawing for the term.

In certain situations, a student may be required to return federal funding they have received, beyond the funding returned by the College. It is unusual for this situation to occur. However, the student could be required to return federal funding in the following circumstances.

  1. The student is a ninth-semester teacher receiving federal aid and withdraws.
  2. The only financial aid received by the student is federal aid which exceeds the direct cost.

If a student is required to return federal funding, Student Accounts will work with Financial Aid to contact the student notifying them of the amount to repay.

After withdrawal adjustments to tuition, required fees, room, and meal option, funds are returned to payment sources in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct loans
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct loans
  3. Federal Perkins loans
  4. Federal PLUS loans
  5. Federal Pell grants
  6. Federal SEOG grants
  7. Other Title IV aid
  8. State loans
  9. State grants
  10. Private grants
  11. Institutional loans
  12. Institutional grants
  13. Other payment sources
  14. Student

Return of Federal Title IV Aid Example

  • A full-time student at Grinnell College living in a residence hall with a full meal plan had billed charges for the semester of $33,823.
  • The student withdrew from the College on Sept. 22, attending 30 out of the 100-day semester or 30 percent (30/100 days).
  • Charges were paid from the following sources: $1,623 Federal Pell Grant; $27,250 Grinnell Grant; $500 private scholarship; $2,250 Federal Subsidized Direct Loan; and a $2,200 payment from the student’s parents.
  • Since the original charges exceed federal student aid and the student withdrew prior to completing 60% of the term, the student keeps 30% of the total federal student aid.
  • The government requires 70% of federal student aid to be returned (in this example).
  • Federal student aid is returned in the following order: Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans, Federal Subsidized Direct Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grants, and Federal SEOG Grants.
    • Federal aid to return = Total federal aid $3,873 X 70% = $2,711. From the returned federal aid, $2,250 is paid back to the Federal Subsidized Loan and $461 to the Federal Pell Grant.
  • The following payment sources are refunded

Federal Subsidized Direct Loan


Federal Pell Grant




Any balance created by the return to Federal Title IV funds is the responsibility of the student and is due immediately.

Contact Student Accounts or Financial Aid if you have questions about your particular situation.

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