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Northwestern University

Withdrawals and Financial Aid

A withdrawal occurs when a student leaves the University after registering for classes in any quarter and the courses have commenced for that period.

Since the University’s academic programs are measured in credit hours, a student is considered to have withdrawn if the student does not complete all the days in the term that the student was originally scheduled to complete.

Financial aid recipients who withdraw from the Univer­sity may be required to return a portion of their Title IV funds to the federal programs as well as some of their state assistance, outside scholarships, and/or institutional financial aid.

Title IV Funds: when is a return required?

The amount of Title IV funds you may retain will depend upon the percentage of time you were enrolled during the term:

Your financial aid office will receive notification of a withdrawal based on information received from the Registrar's Office. According to federal regulations, a school must return Title IV funds to the programs from which the student received aid during the payment period or period of enrollment as applicable, within 45 days of the date of determination of the withdrawal, in the following order:

Title IV-funded living expenses

You may be required to repay some of the Title IV financial aid that was given directly to you as a cash disbursement (excluding federal work-study) to cover living expenses. If so, you will be notified via email by your financial aid office. Living expenses are defined as your educational costs above and beyond the amount the University charges for tuition and fees. Living expenses include estimated costs for (non-University contracted) room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

Until the repayment is collected in full, you will be ineligible for further Title IV funds.

Title IV post-withdrawal disbursements

In some cases, a withdrawal calculation may result in an amount disbursed to a student that is less than the amount the student actually earned. Assuming the student is otherwise eligible, the student is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid that was not received. Your financial aid office will contact you via phone or email if you qualify for a post-withdrawal disbursement. Authorization will be required to disburse loans or Title IV grant funds for charges other than current charges (tuition, fees, room and board). Authorization and disbursement must occur within 45 days of the determination.

Unofficial withdrawals

The Offices of Financial Aid are required to review students who received federal financial aid and did not pass any of their classes. The review must be conducted to determine whether the student earned the non-passing grades while attending classes or stopped attending classes but did not officially withdraw. Students who have ceased attendance without officially withdrawing may be required to repay a portion of the federal financial aid for the term. The Offices of Financial Aid will review records at the end of each term to determine if an evaluation is necessary, which may require information from the student, the Registrar's Office or the student's instructors. If it is determined that a student never began attendance in some or all classes, aid may be adjusted or canceled completely. If a withdrawal date can be determined, the calculation as described above would apply.

Non-Title IV grant and scholarship aid

If the amount of non-Title IV funds you received exceeds any unpaid University charges, you may be required to return the remaining portion. If you have withdrawn, you should contact your financial aid office before requesting a refund. If a balance is due on your student account, you must make the appropriate payments.

Additional information

The calculation used to determine charges after a withdrawal is completely different from the calculation used to determine financial aid eligibility as a result of a withdrawal. Please refer to the Student Financial Regulations Handbook for more information regarding tuition/fee charges and Living @ NU for information about housing charges.

Students are required to contact the Office of the Registrar or the individual school to complete all necessary withdrawal forms. For more information on the University’s withdrawal policy, student should also visit the Office of the Registrar's Withdrawal from the University page. Back to top