Withdrawals and Leave of Absence


Federal regulations mandate a “Return of Title IV Funds” policy for all students who are receiving federal financial aid and who withdraw from all courses during a term. Students, who withdraw officially or unofficially, may only keep the federal financial aid ‘earned’ up to the time of withdrawal. Students earn their Title IV federal financial aid by attending their courses. If they are not in attendance, the ‘unearned’ portion must be returned to the appropriate Title IV program.  Students do not ‘earn’ all of their financial aid unless they attend and participate in their course for more than 60% of the term. This calculation counts all calendar days, including the first and last day of each term, weekends and holidays (excluding 5 or more consecutive days of non-instructional time). For additional information and how to withdraw, visit the Office of the Registrar’s Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

Official Withdrawals

  • When a student officially withdraws prior to completing the term a Return of Title IV Funds calculation will be performed. 
  • An official complete withdrawal is processed through the Office of the Registrar based on their withdrawal deadlines.
  • The unearned portion (based on the percentage of the term remaining) of the aid is returned to the Federal program, if more than 60% of the term is not completed. For example, if a student completes only 20 percent of the term, then he or she has failed to earn 80 percent of the federal financial aid that was disbursed, or could have been disbursed, prior to the withdrawal. If the return of the funds creates a balance due on the student account, the student will be responsible to pay the balance on their account.

Unofficial Withdrawals

  • Are determined at the end of the semester, when grades are posted and the student has not received ANY passing grades. 
  • Students who do not receive ANY passing grades are considered to be unofficial withdrawals. 50 percent of the aid used to pay direct educational costs (tuition, fees, room and board) must be returned to the Federal aid program unless it is determined that a different percentage can be used based on actual dates of attendance. If the return of the funds creates a balance due on the student account, the student will be responsible to pay the balance on their account.

Federal Funds Included in Calculation

Federal Funds, in the following order, are included in the Return of Title IV funds calculation:

  1. Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  2. Direct Subsidized Loan
  3. Direct PLUS Loan
  4. Pell Grant
  5. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  6. Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  7. Teach Grant

Institutional Charges Included in Calculation

Institutional Charges included in the calculation are: tuition, fees, room, and board.

Return of Funds of Unearned Portion

Within 45 days from the date of determination that a student withdrew, Return to Title IV is calculated and the unearned portion of financial aid that is returned will be posted as a charge to the student’s account and must be repaid. Students can repay the student portion of federal loans under the terms and conditions of the promissory note for the loan. However, the unearned portion of the loans that the University of Hawaiʻi must return is posted as a charge to the student account and must be repaid.

Note: The institution will hold students responsible for the entire amount of unearned aid. Until this overpayment is cleared, the student will not be able to receive any services from the institution or enroll at any other institution in the University of Hawaiʻi system.

Credit Balance on Student’s Account

Should the Return to Title IV calculation result in a credit balance on the student’s account, the excess funds will be refunded to the student and/or parent within 14 days.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursements

If the total amount of the Title IV grant and/or loan assistance earned as of the withdrawal date is more than the amount that was disbursed to the student, the difference between the two amounts will be treated as a post-withdrawal disbursement.

Grants will be disbursed to the student’s institutional account within 45 days of the date the institution determined the student withdrew. A post-withdrawal disbursement of any loan funds will be offered to the student within 30 days, allowing the student 14 business days to accept or decline the offered loans. Upon receipt of the student’s response, the University will disburse the accepted loan funds within 180 days from the date of determination of the student’s withdrawal date.

Withdrawing From a Course

Depending on when the student withdraws or drops a course will determine the adjustment needed.  If a course is dropped during the refund period/before the Enrollment Freeze date and the student is not full-time, the financial aid will be adjusted accordingly.  If one or more courses are withdrawn (but not all), after the Enrollment Freeze date with no tuition refund, no adjustment to your aid is needed for the semester but the W grade(s) will negatively affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  If the student is on a SAP Appeal, refer to the academic plan requirements or reach out to our office.  Certain scholarships may require the student to pass or earn a minimum amount of credits each semester, check with the scholarship provider.     

Leave of Absence

For information on the leave of absence process, see the Office of the Registrar’s Withdrawal and Leave of Absence. If you will be taking a leave of absence and have applied for financial aid, please notify our office at finaid@hawaii.edu. If you have borrowed a loan, you must complete loan exit counseling and monthly repayment may be required.

Once you re-enroll at least half-time, you may be able to defer your loan payments by notifying your loan lender and completing an In-School Deferment form.