Withdrawing or adding classes after disbursement

Your Financial Aid was awarded and disbursed based on enrolled hours at the time of disbursement. Once you have federal aid disbursed for a term, we cannot reduce or increase your hours for that term. You are eligible to keep the aid that you received. However, a drop below the hours for which you have been funded, will affect your SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) standing. Please refer to our Satisfactory Academic Progress policy

Withdrawing from all classes

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Withdrawing from a semester means dropping down to zero credit hours for that semester. Please refer to Northern Arizona University policy for properly completing the withdraw process. A withdrawal results in a recalculation of your financial aid, according to federal regulations. The impact on your financial aid will depend on the following factors:

  • the type of withdrawal (complete or unofficial) 
  • the type and amounts of aid you have been awarded
  • the point in the term at which you withdrew

Types of withdrawals  

For financial aid purposes there are two types of withdrawals: complete and unofficial.


Official withdrawal from the University by the student.


Failure to complete an official withdrawal, student receives all failing grades, or combination of withdrawal and failing grades.

Possible impact on your financial aid awards when you withdraw from all classes  

You must officially withdraw from NAU if you do not plan to attend. If you are currently receiving student loans or have in the past, you must complete exit counseling and notify your lender(s) of your withdrawal. If you pre‐registered, signed up for Direct Deposit and decide not to attend, YOU MUST WITHDRAW TO STOP THE PROCESS! If you don’t officially withdraw from the university for the semester, the following will occur:

  • Your aid will automatically pay for all your classes.
  • You will receive a grade of “F” in all classes. This will appear on your grade transcripts and may result in academic and/or financial aid suspension.
  • You will be in default at NAU and ineligible for federal/state aid at all institutions until 100 percent of the aid has been repaid to NAU and the Department of Education.


Withdrawing prior to completing 60 percent of term  


Federal regulation considers 60% of a term attended is equal to 100% of disbursed aid earned. Unless a student completes 60% of the term in which federal aid was disbursed, the student will be required to repay all or part of the federal and state financial aid disbursed in the term. This applies to students who have officially (including medical), or unofficially withdrawn.

Return of Title IV Funds after withdrawing from the university

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Students receiving financial aid will not receive a refund of tuition/fees, housing and dining when they withdraw. Any refundable amount is returned to the appropriate financial aid sources. The student's financial aid will be re‐evaluated to determine the amount of aid the student has earned and how much needs to be returned to the federal programs. In most cases, a student will owe money back to a federal program as a result of the difference between NAU's refund percentage and the Department of Education's refund percentage. The refund of institutional charges will be applied toward the financial aid programs that paid for the institutional charges. This is true even if a student pays with credit card/cash/check and is reimbursed later with a financial aid disbursement. The amount of aid earned will be calculated on a per diem basis through the 60% point of the semester. Federal financial aid will be considered to be 100% earned after this point.

Federal financial aid consists of:

  • Federal Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
  • Federal Science and Mathematics to Retain Talent Grant (SMART)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
  • Work Study is excluded from this calculation

A student’s withdrawal date is considered to be the date the student began the withdrawal process or otherwise notified the university in writing of the intent to withdraw. If a student attends but leaves without notifying the institution, the withdrawal date may be considered to be the midpoint of the semester and the student will be responsible for paying back some financial aid. The university’s policy on Refund of Fees is a separate calculation of the amount of unearned institutional charges. Any refund will first be applied to receivables that the student may owe the university then to any loans the student received.

Return of unearned aid policy for institutional grant aid recipients who withdraw completely from the university

Students, who withdraw from the institution within the 100% tuition refund period and have been awarded a University Grant (Resident and Non Resident), Financial Aid Trust Grant and/or Athletic Fee Grant will have entire the grant amount cancelled for the term in which the student withdraws. Students who withdraw from the institution after the 100% refund period has ended and a credit balance (refund) still exists after Return Title IV has been calculated will have institutional aid such University Grant (Resident and Non Resident), Financial Aid Trust Grant and/or Athletic Fee Grant adjusted based on the amount of the remaining refund. Student will not receive refund of institutional aid.