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Financial Aid

Return of Funds

When the Higher Education Act was pre-authorized in 1998, Congress provided for a new provision commonly referred to as the Return of Title IV Funds. Under this provision, students who completely withdraw from the University for any reason, including medical withdrawals, may be required to return all or some of their Title IV funding to the Department of Education. Funds which fall into this category are as follows:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Direct Loan (Subsidized or Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Direct Parent Loans (PLUS)

Non Title IV funding subject to return calculation:

  • Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP)
  • Commonwealth Grant
  • CNU Grant

The return of funds mandate is based upon the concept that students earn their financial aid in proportion to the amount of time in which they are enrolled. Under this reasoning, a student who withdraws in the second week of classes has earned less of his or her financial aid than a student who withdraws in the seventh week. Once 60 percent of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his or her financial aid and will not be required to return any of the funds.

Please note that this policy does not apply to students who withdraw from the University prior to the first day of classes. In such a situation, the refund policy of the school is used.

What will be returned?

When a student has withdrawn from the University, we go through a series of calculations to determine what responsibilities the school and the student have for returning financial aid. 

  1. We determine the percentage of the enrollment period the student completed. This is calculated by dividing the number of days attended by the number of days in the semester. To find this, we are required to determine when you stopped attending – not when your classes were dropped.

  2. Multiply the amount of financial aid disbursed by the percentage of the semester completed. This is the amount of financial aid earned.

  3. The amounts earned and disbursed are compared. If more aid was disbursed than was earned, the difference will be returned to the Title IV programs. 

The responsibility for returning unearned aid is allocated to the school and to the student. To determine the portion each may be required to return, Christopher Newport must determine what portion of disbursed aid could have been used to cover University charges and what portion would have been returned to the student. 

If the school is required to return funds to a Title IV program, the school will do so as specified by law. Once this happens, the student may owe Christopher Newport. 

Once a student withdraws, we determine, using the steps above, what responsibilities CNU and the student have. We will mail the student a letter indicating what CNU returned, what the student owes to the University and what the student owes to a Title IV program.


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