Refunds, Return of Federal Aid, and Leave of Absence

Students who officially or unofficially break enrollment (withdraw, fail to return from an approved leave of absence or are dismissed from enrollment at MTSA) and are recipients of Title IV (federal) aid, may owe a repayment of federal aid back to the Department of Education. Title IV funds include Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Grad PLUS Loans. Students should be aware that eligibility for future federal aid may be jeopardized by withdrawing from MTSA after federal aid has been disbursed.

MTSA Refund Policy 5.1.106


Return of Title IV Funds

If a student ceases attendance from all his or her courses within a period of enrollment, the student will be considered a withdrawal for Title IV purposes. Students who elect to withdraw from courses must follow MTSA’s official withdrawal process.  If a student withdraws from the program, they may be required to return federal Title IV aid.  The R2T4 calculation for the return of awarded funds may result in the student owing a balance to MTSA and/or their loan servicer if the amount of the return exceeds the school’s portion.  MTSA will notify the student if a repayment is owed via written notice.  If the R2T4 calculation results in a credit balance on the student’s account, MTSA will refund the student no later than 14 days after completing the R2T4 calculation.

The amount of federal aid a student earns, in their 17-week payment period, is determined on a pro rata basis (for example: if you complete 30% of your payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive). Students who withdraw prior to completing 60% of the payment period will have a Return of Title IV fund calculation performed to determine the amount of unearned funds, that will be returned to the appropriate Title IV program. After the 60% point, the student is deemed to have earned 100% of the Title IV funds. Federal funds will be returned based on the percentage of period completed.

The effective withdrawal date is used to determine the point in time that the student withdrew or ceased to attend so that the percentage of the enrollment/payment period completed can be determined. MTSA has 45 days from the date that it determines a student withdrew to return all unearned funds for which it is responsible.

The withdrawal date for the R2T4 calculation of return of the Title IV funds and outside sources of aid is determined by the Program Administrator and is based on the following:

  • The date the student officially notifies MTSA of his/her intent to withdraw or is dismissed from enrollment in the program or
  • The date determined by MTSA as the administrative withdrawal date, if the student left unofficially, based on a determination of the last academically related activity. If a date of last academically related activity cannot be determined, as a non-attendance taking institution, MTSA would use the mid-point as the last day of attendance.

In rare cases, a student may be eligible to receive a late disbursement of Title IV funds (post-withdrawal disbursement) that were not disbursed before a student withdrew but which the student has earned based on a Return of Title IV Funds calculation.  This must be offered within 30 days of the student’s withdrawal date.  In such cases, the Financial Aid Office will notify the student of the “post-withdrawal” disbursement via an award notification.  The school will advise the student that they have 14 calendar days from the date of the award notification to accept a post withdrawal disbursement.

Federal regulations stipulate how the return of Title IV Funds is calculated for students who have received federal assistance. If the student did not attend 60% of the payment period, the aid must be return to the appropriate program in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
  • Federal Grad PLUS Loan


Leave of Absence

A Temporary Leave of Absence (TLOA) is a temporary interruption in a student’s program of study and refers to the specific time period during a program when a student is not in attendance. Each student requesting an academic TLOA must complete:

The MTSA Request for Temporary Leave of Absence form, and be intent on returning to MTSA.

MTSA’s Temporary Leave of Absence Policy»


Leave of Absence (LOA) for Purposes of Title IV Aid

Leave of Absence (LOA) must be an approved LOA for Federal Aid purposes:

If the student is in receipt of Title IV loans (Direct Unsubsidized, or Grad PLUS loans) and does not return from an approved leave of absence, the student may exhaust some or all of their loan grace period. The date of withdrawal (for purposes of Title IV programs) will be backdated to the first day of the student’s approved leave of absence.

A student may leave MTSA by either taking a Leave of Absence (leaving temporarily with the firm and stated intention of returning) or by withdrawing from the school (leaving with no intention of returning).

For students who have federal aid, a Leave of Absence (LOA) must meet certain conditions to be counted as a temporary interruption in a student’s education instead of being counted as a withdrawal requiring a school to perform a Title IV return calculation. If a TLOA does not meet the conditions in 34CFR 668.22(d), the student is considered to have ceased attendance and to have withdrawn from the school, and the school is required to perform a Title IV return calculation.

For a TLOA to qualify as an approved leave for Title IV purposes:

  • The student must follow the school’s policy in requesting the TLOA;
  • There must be a reasonable expectation that the student will return from the TLOA;
  • The school must approve the student’s request for an LOA in accordance with the school’s policy;
  • The school may not assess the student any additional institutional charges, the student’s need may not increase, and therefore, the student is not eligible for any additional federal student aid;
  • The LOA, together with any additional leaves of absence, must not exceed a total of 180 days in any 12-month period;
  • The student must apply in advance for an LOA, unless unforeseen circumstances prevent the student from doing so (i.e. injured in an accident);
  • If the student is a Title IV loan recipient, the school must explain to the student, prior to granting the LOA, the effects that the student’s failure to return from an LOA may have on the student’s loan repayment terms, including the expiration of the student’s grace period.

A school may grant a student an academic TLOA that does not meet the conditions to be an approved LOA for Title IV purposes. A TLOA granted by MTSA, that does not meet all the conditions for an approved LOA for federal aid is considered a withdrawal for Title IV purposes. Title IV loan recipients must complete exit loan counseling and if they are on leave longer than 6 months, monthly payments may begin when the grace period of the loans ends. Students may apply for a hardship forbearance or economic hardship forbearance or military deferment with their student loan lender.

A student approved for a Financial Aid LOA that meets the criteria is not considered to have withdrawn and no return of Title IV funds calculation is required. Students granted an approved LOA remain in an in-school status for Title IV loan repayment purposes. Upon the student’s return from the leave, he or she will continue to earn the federal student aid previously awarded for the period.