The Higher Education Act (HEA) is the federal law that governs the administration of federal student aid programs that are responsible for the majority of financial assistance to postsecondary students. Originally passed in 1965, the HEA was designed to strengthen resources for higher education institutions and also provide financial assistance for students.
There are seven sections of the HEA, Title IV being the most familiar one in the post-secondary setting. Title IV which addresses Student Assistance specifically. The purpose of Title IV was to "assist in making available the benefits of postsecondary education to eligible students in institutions of higher education." In order to be successful in providing greater accessibility and opportunities for education, Title IV discusses providing grants to students and also assistance to higher education institutions. The HEA is recertified every five (5) years and there have been changes and additions to the law, including the Gainful Employment rules.
Return of Funds
HEA, Section 484B; 34 CFR 668.22
Returning Funds for students who do not register or fail to begin attendance
34 CFR 668.21
34 CFR 668.167
34 CFR 674.16(f)(1)&(2)
34 CFR 676.16(d)(1)&(2)
34 CFR 682.604(d)(3) and (4), and
34 CFR 685.303(b)(3).
34 CFR 690.78(b)(1)&(2)
Determination of student withdrawal date
34 CFR 668.22(i)(3)
Date of determination at an institution required to take attendance (online programs)
34 CFR 668.22(b)(1)
Date which funds must be returned
34 CFR 668:22(j)
Period of Enrollment
Financial Aid eligibility is based on the course load of courses that the student actually attends. If notification of non-attendance in any class is received at any time, the determination of federal financial aid eligibility will be re-evaluated for that term and may result in financial aid forfeiture and/or a balance due to the College.
Federal regulations require the College to prorate Title IV aid for students who stop attending all classes after the first week of school, up until the 60% point of the semester, generally defined as through the ninth week of classes. This recalculation is based on the last date of attendance during the semester regardless of whether the student withdrew officially or simply stopped attending classes (unofficial withdrawal).
Return of Unearned Federal Aid: The total federal aid disbursed at the point of withdrawal less the earned amount constitutes the unearned aid that must be returned to the federal government. If it is determined that the student has received excess funds, the College must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of the student’s institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of funds, or the entire amount of the excess funds. The College will allocate the return of unearned aid in the following order:
- Federal Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Subsidized Loan
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Parent or Graduate PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG
Return of Title IV federal funds may result in the student owing the College. If a balance due is created, a registration block will prevent future registration until it is paid.