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Financial Considerations for Withdrawing from School

According to federal requirements, if you withdraw from all courses during a term, your financial aid funds may need to be adjusted and, in some cases, immediately repaid to federal and state sources.

The amount of aid that you have earned is calculated on a pro-rated basis. For example, if you completed 30 percent of the days in the term, you earned 30 percent of the aid you were scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60 percent of the days in the term, you have earned all of the aid that you were scheduled to receive for that term.

If you, your parent on your behalf, or Harvard Extension School received unearned Title IV financial aid that must be returned, the school must return a portion of those funds equal to the lesser of either:

  • Your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds
  • The entire amount of unearned funds

Harvard Extension School must return the calculated amount on your behalf whether or not the Title IV funds were used to pay your tuition and fees. Harvard Extension School then charges you for the amount required to be returned.

In accordance with federal regulations, Harvard Extension School returns Title IV funds in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Direct Loans
  • Subsidized Direct Loans
  • Graduate PLUS Loan
  • Parent PLUS Loan
  • Pell Grant

If Harvard Extension School is required to return only a portion of the unearned funds, you must return the remaining amount. You, or your parent, must return any loan funds for a PLUS Loan to the holder of the loan in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.

Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is considered an overpayment. The amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the unearned grant funds that you received. You must make arrangements with your school or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Harvard Extension School must obtain your written authorization before the funds can be disbursed. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds to avoid incurring unnecessary debt.

Harvard Extension School will use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement—including loan funds, if you accept them—to pay tuition, and Summer School housing and meal plan charges (on-campus and study abroad programs only). For all other charges (such as health insurance), Harvard Extension School needs your written authorization to use the post-withdrawal disbursement as payment. If authorization is not received within two weeks of your notification letter, the refund will be mailed to you. Harvard Extension School will then bill you for the remaining charges.

You may request a paper copy of this return of Title IV financial aid statement and an example of the calculation by calling Student Financial Services at (617) 495-4293 or emailing to

Please note, the federal requirements for the return of Title IV financial aid when you withdraw are separate from Harvard Extension School’s refund policy. You may read about Harvard Extension School’s refund policy on the Refunds page or request a paper copy from the Registrar’s Office at (617) 495-4024. Information on the procedure for withdrawing can be found on the Course Changes and Withdrawals page of this website.