Undergraduate Financial Aid Regulations

Withdrawal / Leave of Absence

Students considering leaving Clarkson during a semester must investigate the implications their decision might have on their financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to retain eligibility for federal and institutional financial aid. Satisfactory academic progress is comprised of three areas as required by federal regulations. A student must complete their degree within a specified period, demonstrate they are making progress towards the completion of their degree by earning a minimum number of credits hours each semester and achieve a GPA that is consistent with meeting graduation requirements. Some institutional scholarships (i.e. Honors and some Endowed/Sponsored Scholarships) may require higher academic achievement.

Financial Aid satisfactory academic progress standards are based on a student’s cumulative record and are separate from Academic Standing determinations. A student who is on academic warning, academic probation, or has been approved to continue after separation retains financial aid eligibility provided the financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards as outlined below are met.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Financial Aid Regulations

The financial aid regulations encompass federal, state, and university policies regarding all types of aid.

Total Withdrawal from the University - Federal Title IV and Institutional Aid Refund Policy

There are occasions when a student may leave the University prior to the completion of a term. If a student officially withdraws from the University, takes a leave of absence, unofficially withdraws, or is dismissed during the term, for the purposes of financial aid both situations are treated as a withdrawal. When a federal financial aid recipient withdraws during a term, federal regulations require a calculation to determine whether federal aid must be returned. This calculation, called a Return of Title IV Aid (R2T4), is required for official withdrawals, but also in the cases of students who unofficially withdraw by ceasing attendance in their classes. There is no leave of absence policy used in the R2T4 process.

An undergraduate student intending to leave the University must contact Student Achievement Services to being the official withdrawal process. Graduate students must contact their Academic Department.

The R2T4 calculation determines whether financial aid must be repaid to the federal programs. The University's tuition refund policy is independent from this federal R2T4 policy. Federal aid includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Subsidized Federal Direct Loans, Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans, and Federal Direct PLUS Loans.

When a student withdraws from the University during the term, the amount of Title IV program assistance that the student has earned up to that point in time is determined by a specific formula. If the student received less assistance than the amount than was earned, the student may be able to receive those additional funds. If the student received more assistance than earned, the excess funds must be returned to the US Department of Education.

The amount of assistance that the student has earned is determined on a pro rata basis. The formula is based upon the number of days the student has attended as a percentage of the total number of days in the term. For example, if the student completed 30% of the term, the student earns 30% of the assistance originally awarded. Once the student has completed more than 60% of the term, the student has earned all of the assistance awarded for the term. Federal regulations require this calculation if the student officially or unofficially withdraws, is dismissed or otherwise leaves the University during a term.

Student transcripts are reviewed at the conclusion of each term. If a student received all “F” grades during a term, federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to obtain additional information from the Academic Department(s). If the Academic Department(s) determines that the student completed, yet failed to meet the course objectives in at least one course, no changes to the student's financial aid for that term are required. If however, the Academic Department(s) determines that the student did not complete all courses (i.e. stopped attending all courses); the student is considered to have unofficially withdrawn from the University. In this case, the last date of academic engagement is used to determine the date of the unofficial withdrawal.

Academic engagement includes:

  • Attending asynchronous class, lecture, recitation, or field or laboratory activity physically or online, where there is an opportunity for interaction between the instructor and students
  • Submitting an academic assignment
  • Taking an assessment or exam
  • Participating in an interactive tutorial, webinar, or other interactive computer-assisted instruction
  • Participating in a study group, group project, or an online discussion that is assigned by the institution
  • Interacting with an instructor about academic matters

The definition of academic engagement does not include activities where a student may be present, but not academically engaged, such as:

  • Living in institutional housing
  • Participating in the school's meal plan
  • Logging into an online class or tutorial without any further participation
  • Participating in academic counseling or advising
  • Participating in a student-organized study group

If the last date of academic engagement is after the 60% date of the term, no adjustment to a student's financial aid for that term is required. If however, the date occurs prior to the 60% date, a Title IV refund calculation is required and necessary adjustments to a student's financial aid for the term will be made. In absence of a documented last date of academic engagement, federal regulations require Clarkson to use the midpoint (50%) of the term.

The Federal Title IV Refund Procedure is separate and distinct from the Office of Student Account’s refund policy for tuition, fees and other charges at Clarkson.  Therefore, a student may still owe funds to cover unpaid institutional charges.

Clarkson scholarships, grants and loans may be reduced based on individual circumstances, the date of withdrawal and the Student Accounts Refund policy.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for students who return to the University for a subsequent term will be reviewed and a determination will be made based on the Maximum Time Frame, PACE and GPA standards as stated above.

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