Academic Programs Catalog

General Information, Policies, Procedures and Regulations

Refund Policy


Refund of Course Fees and Tuition

If a student withdraws from the university or drops a course, the refund policy will be:

  1. For changes made through the first ¼ of the term of instruction (measured in weekdays, not class days), 100 percent of the semester course fees and tuition for the net credits dropped will be refunded.
  2. For changes made after the first ¼ of the term of instruction and through the end of the session, no refund will be made for any credits dropped.  Any courses approved for late add will be billed in the next monthly bill.

When dropping a course, the date the notification from the department is received in the Office of the Registrar will determine the amount of refund applicable.

Appeals concerning the refund policy should be referred to the Office of the Registrar.

Net refunds due to a drop of credits or withdrawal from the university are processed daily and posted to students' accounts. Amounts due students will be applied against outstanding balances owed the University or returned to students. Questions regarding account balances should be referred to the Student Accounts Office, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road, Room 140.


Financial Aid Refund Policy

Dropping Credits

  1. Students may be billed for a portion or all of their financial aid awards if they drop credits or do not carry the minimum number of credits required for aid eligibility.
  2. View the enrollment chart at www.finaid.msu.edu/enrlchrt.asp to determine if particular grants or scholarships will be reduced when dropping credits. Students will be billed for aid adjustments caused by changes in enrollment status.

Withdrawal from the University

  1. In addition to billing for the dropping of credits associated with withdrawal, there may be additional billing, particularly if a student has received federal financial aid funds (including Federal Stafford Loan), which were to have covered the entire semester educational costs. Refer to the next section for more detailed information on Title IV withdrawal refund rules.
        Withdrawal up until the end of the first quarter of the term of instruction will result in 100 percent billing of federal grant aid (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Pell Grant) and Michigan Competitive Scholarship and may also result in a partial or complete billing of loan aid (Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Stafford Loan, and other financial aid).
  2. The bill calculated as a result of withdrawal will depend on the official date of withdrawal and/or the last date of attendance and the percentage and amount of institutional refund to be received.
  3. Withdrawal for any semester during the aid year may result in cancellation of a student's financial aid award for the remainder of the aid year. If a student wishes to reapply for funds for spring semester, a written request must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid within 30 days of withdrawing from the university.

Return of Funds Policy for Title IV Aid Recipients Who Withdraw

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998, as well as the program integrity regulations in 2010, set forth regulations governing the treatment of Title IV funds when a student withdraws from an institution.

There are three types of withdrawals that fall under the return to Title IV (R2T4) federal calculation regulations:

  1. Official Withdrawals – student contacts the Registrar’s Office or their advisor to initiate an official withdrawal for a semester, or the student drops all of their courses using the online enrollment system.
  2. Unofficial Withdrawals - If a student begins to attend class, receives federal Title IV aid, but then ceases to attend class without providing official notification to the University, the Federal Government considers this to be an "unofficial withdrawal". For Title IV purposes, the withdrawal date for students who unofficially withdraw is considered to be the midpoint of the semester unless a documented last date of attendance can be determined. However, if the University determines that a student did not provide official notice of the intent to withdraw due to illness, accident, grievous personal loss or other circumstances beyond the student’s control, the University may use a date that is related to that circumstance. The refund rules for Title IV aid recipients who withdraw are then followed to determine the unearned portion of Title IV aid that must be returned to the appropriate aid program(s).
  3. Modular withdrawals – If a student is enrolled in a standard, term-based program offered in modules (subterms) and ceases attendance at any point prior to completing the payment period or period of enrollment, unless the school obtains written confirmation from the student at the time of the withdrawal that he or she will attend a module that begins later in the same payment period or period of enrollment, the student is considered a withdrawal for Title IV purposes.  If written confirmation of future attendance is received from the student but the student does not return as scheduled, the student is considered to have withdrawn from the payment period or period of enrollment and the students withdrawal date and the total number of calendar days in the payment period or period of enrollment would be the withdrawal date and total number of calendar days that would have applied if the student had not provided written confirmation of future attendance.

When a student is considered to have withdrawn, as described above, during an enrollment period in which they have begun attendance and received federal Title IV financial aid, Michigan State University is required to determine the amount of earned and unearned Title IV aid. A student is only eligible to retain the percentage of Title IV aid disbursed that is equal to the percentage of the enrollment period that was completed by the student (calculated daily). The unearned Title IV aid must then be returned to the appropriate federal aid program(s). If more than 60% of the enrollment period has been completed by the student, no Title IV aid needs to be returned.

According to university policy, when a student withdraws prior to the quarter of the semester and/or receives a 100% tuition refund from the university, all of that semesters federal Title IV grant aid (SEOG, Pell Grant, Federal Teach Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant) will be billed back to the students account. Most non-federal aid will also be billed back to the students account. All Title IV aid will be included in the calculations outlined below. Depending on the results of the calculations, some or all of the federal grant aid may be re-disbursed to the student account.

The following steps will be followed when determining the amount of Title IV aid to be returned upon withdrawal:

  1. Determine percentage of enrollment period completed by student. Divide the number of days attended by the number of days in the enrollment period. If the calculated percentage exceeds 60%, then the student has earned all Title IV aid for the enrollment period.
  2. Calculate the amount of earned Title IV aid. Multiply the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the total Title IV aid disbursed (or could have been disbursed as defined by late disbursement rules).
  3. Determine amount of unearned aid to be returned to Title IV aid program accounts. Subtract the amount of earned federal aid from the total amount of federal aid disbursed. The difference must be returned to the appropriate Title IV aid program(s).
  4. Return of Title IV funds by institution and student:
    1. MSU will return unearned Title IV aid up to an amount that is equal to the total institutional charges for the payment period multiplied by the percentage of the Title IV aid that was unearned. Generally, a student’s tuition and fee refund and/or University Housing refund will satisfy this liability. On occasion, however, particularly when the student remains in University Housing beyond the withdrawal date, a bill will result.
    2. The student will be responsible for the balance of unearned Title IV aid. In most cases, this will be the amount of federal aid funds a student received in the form of a refund for non-institutional expenses multiplied by the percentage of Title IV aid that was unearned.
      1. If the student’s portion of aid to be returned is a loan, then the student is not immediately required to repay the loan. The terms of the original loan repayment agreement will apply.
      2. If the student’s portion of aid to be returned is an overpayment of a grant, the student is required to only repay the amount exceeding 50% of the total grants. MSU will restore the grant funds to the appropriate federal account, with a resulting charge to the students account. The student will be responsible for repaying MSU for the grant overpayment.
  5. Unearned Title IV Funds will be returned to federal programs in the following order:
    1. Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
    2. Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
    3. Federal Perkins Loans
    4. Federal Parent PLUS Loan
    5. Federal Pell Grants
    6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity
    7. Federal Teach Grants
    8. Iraq and Afghanistan Grant
    9. Other Grants

Example of a Title IV return of funds calculation for a Title IV recipient who is considered to have withdrawn:

Institutional Charges         $5,000
Title IV Loans                  $2,000
Title IV Grants                 $1,000
Total Title IV Aid              $3,000

Student withdrew on 35th day of a 110 day enrollment period.

Percent Earned   35/110 = 32%

Percent Unearned   100% - 32% = 68%

Amount of Title IV aid unearned $3,000 x 68% = $2,040

MSU is responsible for returning the lesser of unearned Title IV aid ($2,040 from above) or unearned institutional charges ($5,000 x 68% = $3,400). MSU will return aid as follows:

Title IV Loans $2,000 (students remaining loan debt = 0)
Title IV Grants $40

The students responsibility is amount of aid unearned ($2,040) less school responsibility ($2,040), which is zero.

The example shown above does not reflect every student refund situation that may exist. More detailed calculation examples are available in the Student Accounts Office, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road, Rm 140, East Lansing, MI 48824, 1-517-355-5050, Fax 1-517-353-9640. Questions regarding the Return of Title IV Funds Policy for students who withdraw should be addressed to the Student Accounts Office.

The University reserves the right to amend the Title IV Return of Funds Policy at any time in order to comply with Federal regulations.

Refund Rules for Other Fees, Taxes, Assessments

The Engineering Program Fee, Science and Technology Fee, Health Science Program Fee and Broad College of Business Program Fees or the differential is refunded in the same percentage as course fees when withdrawing from the University or dropping from above 4 credits to 4 credits or less.

Student government taxes, FM Radio tax, and The State News assessments are refundable upon presentation of the appropriate receipt at the respective organization's office.

Late registration fees will not be refunded.

Residence Hall housing fees are refunded on a pro-rata basis, based on certain variables. In some instances, the cost of room and board may be prorated as of the day following departure. Details and procedures are found in the On-Campus Housing Handbook: Terms and Conditions.

University Apartment rent refunds - Tenants with leases will be held to the June 30th end date so no proration will occur if they move out early. Refunds for tenants who have been officially released from their lease will be prorated as of the day following the official check out time.

In general, all fees collected by Michigan State University and their respective refund policies shall be subject to judicial review as provided in Student Rights and Responsibilities at Michigan State University.