In situations where a student needs to withdraw from one or more classes, or withdraw entirely from Iowa State, federal regulations may require Iowa State to return a portion or all of the financial aid that has been disbursed to the student. The amount varies depending on the official date of withdrawal.

If you are considering dropping one or more classes, or withdrawing from the university, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss your situation. 

Dropping below half-time enrollment or withdrawing from all classes may affect the repayment status of your current and/or previous student loans.

Dropping Classes

The Office of Student Financial Aid monitors semester hours of enrollment for students who are receiving financial aid. Students who drop courses during the first ten business days of the term (but are still enrolled) may have their financial aid reduced accordingly. Students who drop full-term courses after the first ten business days of the term (but are still enrolled) will not have their financial aid adjusted for the current term. Student enrolled in modular courses and drop courses during the term, even after the tenth day of the term, may have their aid adjusted. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for additional information.

Tuition and Fees Refund Policy

The Office of the Registrar has a tuition adjustment 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%. You should check with the Office of the Registrar to determine the amount of tuition and fees refund for which you may be eligible.

Food and housing refunds are made in accordance with the agreement set out in the On-Campus Housing Contract Terms and Conditions.

Financial Aid Impacts of Withdrawing

The U.S. 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, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG). 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 more than 60% of the semester has passed are required to return unearned federal student aid in a proportion equal to the time not in attendance.

Official Withdrawals

The Office of Student Financial Aid receives notification of a student withdrawal from the Office of the Registrar weekly. This notification alerts the Office of Student Financial Aid staff to complete the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) processes.


  • R2T4 calculation must be made within 30 days of notification of student’s withdrawal from Iowa State University. Students who have funds returned to the Department of Education receive a letter notifying them of the type and amount of aid returned along instructions to complete Exit Counseling if they are a Direct Loan borrower.
  • Title IV funds must be returned to the Department of Education within 45 days
  • Students who have a withdrawal date on or after the 60% mark of the semester are not required to repay Title IV funds.

Unofficial Withdrawal

At the end of each semester, the Office of Student Financial Aid is informed of students who fail to earn a passing grade in at least one full semester course. 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 their financial aid returned based on the withdrawal percentages outlined above. Financial aid adjustments will be reflected on the University U-Bill.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursements (PWD)

A student who withdraws and did not receive their Federal Student Aid disbursement for the semester they were enrolled, but then withdrew, may be eligible for a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement.  The funds will be disbursed against any outstanding university bill balance the student owes.  If a refund exists after outstanding university charges are paid, they will be refunded to the student. 

  • Title IV Grant funds must be disbursed within 45 days of the withdrawal Date of Determination. 
  • If a student or parent is eligible for Direct Loan funds, they must be offered to the student within 30 of the withdrawal Date of Determination.  A student has at least 14 days to respond to accept or decline the loan funds. 
  • In the case that the student has incomplete FAFSA verification, the student has 120 days from the date of withdrawal to complete verification and receive a post-withdrawal disbursement.

Official Withdrawal Policy

Unofficial Withdrawal Policy

If circumstances arise that require you to withdraw from all classes, please contact both your academic advisor and the Office of Student Financial Aid so that the impact of withdrawal can be explained.