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Unofficial Withdrawal PolicyUSSS-10


All faculty and financial aid administrators are affected by this policy. Students receiving federal financial aid may be affected.

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Policy Statement

In compliance with Federal Regulations relating to Student Assistance General Provision [34 CFR 668.22], Indiana University must determine whether a return of Title IV federal funds is necessary when a student fails to attend or ceases to attend class and does not withdraw.  This situation is referred to as an "unofficial withdrawal."

In order to comply with this federal regulation, the University Faculty Council approved on March 30, 1999, recommendations as presented by the Educational Policies Committee to establish an “FN” grade to reflect such students who unofficially withdraw.

In May 2005, the subcategory value of “FNN” was established to indicate those FN students who never attended a class.

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Reason for Policy

In order to comply with federal regulations, a process must be in place to identify students who fail to attend or cease to attend classes without officially withdrawing. It is also necessary to have procedures to facilitate the required calculations determining the amount of Title IV federal funds which must be returned to the US Department of Education as a result of such unofficial withdrawals.

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Determination of potential unofficial withdrawals
At the end of each semester/session when final grades have been recorded, the Financial Aid Office at each campus will run a report to identify federal aid recipients whose grades for the term are all FN, FNN or a combination of FN, FNN, NC, NR, NY and W grades. Grade definitions follow:

FN – Failure due to non-attendance
FNN – Failure, never attended
NC - Non-Credit
NR – Not Reported
NY - Special program enrollment for which credit earned will be recorded when completed, typically used for Study Abroad
W – Withdrew after the first week of classes

Determination of actual unofficial withdrawals
At the end of each academic term when final grades have been recorded, University Student Services and Systems Financial Aid staff will review the list and evaluate each student to determine if he or she should be considered to have unofficially withdrawn. Follow up with faculty may be required for NR, NC and NY grades to determine whether or not a student ceased attendance in all classes.

Last Date of Attendance/Enrollment Audits
The last date of attendance for W grades is generally the withdrawal date. When an FN grade is recorded, the instructor must supply the last date of attendance. For online courses, it is necessary to document the student’s last date of participation in an academically-related activity. For all federal aid recipients, it is imperative that we be able to document that the student began attendance in each course.

The 1999 changes adopted by the University Faculty Council that established the FN grade also required faculty to participate in the Registrar’s enrollment audit. This allows the registrar to maintain accurate enrollment records while complying with federal financial aid requirements. The enrollment audits are now completed through the Student Performance Rosters which are part of FLAGS (Fostering, Learning, Achievement and Student Success) system.

It is imperative that all instructors comply with the policy and meet enrollment verification submission deadlines established by university academic leadership each term, for each class.
Return of Title IV Funds
Once the last date of attendance is established, USSS Financial Aid staff will promptly calculate the amount and type of funds to be returned to the federal aid programs, if any, in accordance with federal regulations.

USSS Financial Aid will maintain records of this review process including:

  • Report output that was used to identify students;
  • Whether each student is considered an unofficial withdrawal, and if not, an explanation for that decision;
  • The Last Date of Attendance as well as when and how that date was determined;
  • The amount of any refund calculated and the amount(s) and type(s) of financial aid to be repaid and all calculations as tracked on the Return of Title IV Aid Worksheet

Additional information
IUIE Report:
For students with Title IV aid (Direct Loan, Perkins, Pell, ACG/SMART, SEOG) disbursed, identifies students who have all FN or FNN grades, or a combination of FN, FNN, NC, NR, NY, W or blank grades. Student must have at least 1 FN or FNN grade to be picked up on the report.

This back-office process is performed by USSS as a shared service. USSS Financial Aid maintains procedural documentation for performing this work, as well as a Service Level Agreement that outlines USSS and campus financial aid office responsibilities related to this work.

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This work is audited annually by the State Board of Accounts during the A-133 audit. Indiana University Internal Audit assists with the A-133 audit and may perform additional audits as needed to ensure compliance with Federal Regulations. Failure to adequately comply with this policy in the time frames specified under federal regulations could result in an audit finding which could lead to federal aid repayments, fines, and potentially, the loss of IU’s eligibility to participate in the federal student aid programs.

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Additional Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Fax/Email
Financial aid impact of an Unofficial Withdrawal IUB Office of Student Financial Assistance 812-855-0321
Financial aid impact of an Unofficial Withdrawal IUPUI and IUPUC Office of Student Financial Aid Services 317-274-4162
Financial aid impact of an Unofficial Withdrawal IU East Office of Financial Aid 765-976-8206
Financial aid impact of an Unofficial Withdrawal IU Kokomo Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid 765-455-6216
Financial aid impact of an Unofficial Withdrawal IU Northwest Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships 219-980-6778
Financial aid impact of an Unofficial Withdrawal IU South Bend Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships 574-520-4357
Financial aid impact of an Unofficial Withdrawal IU Southeast Office of Financial Aid 812-941-2256

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The policy for identifying unofficial withdrawals through new faculty grading procedures was adopted by the University Faculty Council in March, 1999. The need for the policy was determined as a result of significant audit findings and financial penalties when it was found that existing University procedures did not adequately address the requirement. The policy was reformatted in 2009.

Previous Versions:

Tracked Changes:

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