Leave of Absence
Impact of a Leave of Absence on Financial Aid
A Leave of Absence (LOA) is granted by the College in which the student is enrolled. A LOA is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study during which the student is considered to be enrolled. An LOA cannot exceed 180 days in any 12 month period and may have a serious impact on a student’s financial aid. Any student considering requesting a leave of absence should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine how their financial aid will be affected. Schools may neither credit a student’s account nor deliver loan proceeds to the student borrower while the student is on an approved leave of absence. A student who is approved for a leave of absence after receiving financial aid for the semester may be required to return a portion of the aid previously received. Federal educational loan regulations state that when a student borrower ceases to be enrolled at least half-time for 180 days (6 months) in any 12-month period, the borrower will be considered as withdrawn from school for loan repayment purposes. At that point, the school is required to calculate the amount of financial aid the student earned and the amount of financial aid that must be returned. These calculations are based on the time the student was enrolled. The percentage of the semester the student completed is the percentage of aid the student can keep. The percentage of the semester the student did not complete is the percentage of aid that must be returned. Once a student completes 60% of the semester, the student has earned 100% of the aid they received for that semester.
Student borrowers are given a six month grace period on most types of federal loans starting at the date enrollment ceases. During this time, lenders will treat the borrower’s loans as if the borrower were still enrolled in school full-time. Once a grace period is used on a specific loan, it will not be given again. At the end of this six month grace period, the student will be required to enter repayment on their federal educational loans until they return to school; however, deferment or forbearance options are available if the student makes a request to their lender.
Federal Policy for Returning Federal Student Financial Aid
Students who are granted a leave of absence (that is expected to last 180 days or more) after paying for the semester’s tuition will be treated as withdrawn. The following federal policies will apply:
If a student received federal student aid before withdrawing, being dismissed, or being granted a leave of absence, any tuition refund calculated will be returned to the federal aid programs first. Federal regulations mandate that the percentage of the semester the student did not complete will be the percentage of available federal aid the student did not earn. If the student received more federal student aid than they earned, the school must return the unearned funds to the student’s lender in a specified order. Once the student has completed 60% of the semester, the student has earned 100% of their aid, and no federal refund is required. When a refund is required, the amount of the student’s aid that the school is required to return to the student’s lender is determined by multiplying the amount of the student’s tuition and fees by the percentage of the semester the student did not complete. Once institutional and federal refunds are complete, the student will be required to pay any remaining balance due the school within 30 days.