Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

Withdrawing & Dropping from Courses

Students may find themselves in a situation where they need to withdraw from one or more classes, or withdraw entirely from the University of Northern Iowa. In these situations, federal regulations may require that the university return a portion or all of the federal student aid that has been disbursed to the student. The amount of federal student aid that is required to be returned will vary depending on the date of withdrawal. If you are considering dropping one or more classes, or withdrawing from the university, it is important that you visit with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss your situation. Dropping to less than half-time enrollment or withdrawing from all classes may affect the repayment status of your current or previous student loans.  

Impact of Withdrawing from Classes (PDF)

Dropping Classes

The Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships monitors semester hours of enrollment for students who are receiving financial aid. Students who drop courses during the first two weeks of classes (but are still enrolled) will have their grants reduced accordingly. Students who drop courses after the first two weeks of the semester (but are still enrolled) will not have their financial aid adjusted.

Withdrawal from Classes

The Office of the Registrar has a tuition refund policy that determines the amount of tuition and fees that will be refunded to a student who withdraws from all classes. The amount is based on the date the student withdraws from the university, and may vary from 0 to 100 percent. Students should check with the Office of the Registrar or the university catalog to determine the amount of tuition and fees refund for which they may be eligible. Room and board refunds are made in accordance with the agreement set out in the Contract for Room and Board. Contact the Department of Residence for more information about room and board refunds.

The US Department of Education requires institutions to apply the Return to Title IV Funds policy for students withdrawing from a University who receive Title IV financial aid. The Title IV programs include: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Direct Loans, Direct Plus Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), and Federal Perkins Loans.  In addition, state and institutional aid programs are also subject to returning aid based on the last date of attendance.  

Students who withdraw from all classes at the university before over 60 percent of the semester has passed are required to return unearned federal student aid in a proportion equal to the time not in attendance. For example, if a student completes 30 percent of the semester, then 30 percent of the federal aid received may be retained and the other 70 percent of federal aid received must be returned in the following order:

1)      federal loans
2)      federal grants
3)      state programs
4)      UNI grants and scholarships
5)      outside agencies

Students are notified of any changes to their federal aid resulting from withdrawal, and should check their U-Bill after they have withdrawn. Students who have attended classes through 60 percent of the semester will be able to retain all of the federal student aid that has been disbursed. However, a student’s eligibility for financial aid in future semesters may be affected (please see our website: Financial Aid Academic Progress). Students should keep in mind that loans that were disbursed must still be repaid according to the terms of the promissory note. If circumstances arise that require you to withdraw from all classes, please contact both your academic advisor and the Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships so that the consequences of withdrawal can be explained.

Unofficial Withdrawal

At the end of each semester, the Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships reviews the status of students who received all F grades. Course instructors are contacted for assistance in identifying the last date of attendance. If a student stops attending all classes during a semester but fails to officially withdraw, the student will be considered “unofficially withdrawn” and is at risk of having portions of his/her financial aid returned based on the withdrawal percentages outlined above. Financial aid adjustments will be reflected on the University U-Bill.

Repeating Coursework

Federal regulation limits the number of times a student may repeat a course and receive financial aid for that course.  This policy applies whether or not the student received aid for earlier enrollments in the course.

  • A student may receive aid when repeating a course that was previously failed regardless of the number of times the course was attempted and failed.

  • A student may receive aid to repeat a previously passed course only one additional time.

  • This policy applies whether or not the student received aid for earlier enrollments in the course.