What if I need to drop a class after the semester has started?
Your tuition charge and financial aid eligibility are based on the actual number of credits you are registered for (note: full time enrollment is considered to be 12-18 credits) as of the last day to add a class/the end of the first week of classes. If you make a change in the number of credits in which you are enrolled during the first week of classes, your tuition could change and your financial aid could also change. For example, if you change semester enrollment from full-time credits (12 to 18) to part-time credits (less than 12), say 10 credits, your semester tuition charge will change from $13,920 (Liberal Arts tuition) to either $8,650 or $6,150 depending on whether your course credits are a part of the day or evening/weekend divisions respectively. Your financial aid eligibility will also be adjusted, usually gift aid, as most gift aid requires full-time enrollment status. (2013-14 figures reflected above.)
If you change the number of credits in which you are enrolled after the first week of classes but before the start of the 9th week of classes (or the 5th week of classes for a mini-mester course) an adjustment in your tuition and perhaps your financial aid eligibility will occur up through 60% of the length of the semester/term. The refund schedule can be found in the Course Registration material that is made available by the Office of Registration and Records before the start of each term and also on the Bursar's Office website: http://www.bw.edu/resources/cashier/refunds/.
If you are a full time student and you drop a class, but your enrollment remains between 12 and 18 credits, there is no change in your tuition or financial aid eligibility as your enrollment is still considered full time and the tuition remains unchanged. If dropping a course results in you being less than full time, your tuition will be adjusted -- based upon the percentage of the term that has elapsed before the drop. Your financial aid eligibility may remain unchanged, unless you actually withdraw from the University by dropping all of your classes. In the case of enrollment changes that involve mini-mester classes and where BW gift aid is concerned, a change from full-time to less than full-time status may precipitate a change in the amount of BW gift aid that you are still entitled to receive.
If you withdraw from all of your classes and this occurs after the end of week 1 but before 60% of the semester/term has elapsed, an adjustment in your tuition and financial aid eligibility will be based upon the percentage of time that you were not enrolled for the same number of credits from the total credits from which you started the term.
The adjustment in your tuition will be based on the University Refund Schedule that is published by the Bursar. Your BW financial aid (grants and scholarships) will also be based on the University Refund Schedule. For federal and state assistance (grants and loans) the adjustment in aid is based on the Federal Refund Schedule (FRS), where the percentage of time that you are not enrolled during the length of the semester/term also represents the amount of federal and state financial assistance that must be reduced.
Normally a semester consists of 110 days, of which financial aid may be required to be returned if the student withdraws from credits all enrolled during the first 60% of the length of the semester. For a 110-day semester, this would be through the first 66 days. For each day the student is enrolled, they (basically) earn a percentage of the federal and state assistance they have received. By the time 60% of the semester/term has elapsed, the student is now considered to be able to keep whatever amount of federal/state assistance that they have been credited and no adjustment is necessary if a student withdraws from all credits.
Here's an example:
John Reynolds is a full-time, resident student in the Liberal Arts program. John decides to drop all of his courses on the 35th day of the semester. He has completed 33% of the length of the 105 day semester. As a result, 67% of his financial aid eligibility is subject to possible change. His tuition adjustment, however, is based upon the College Refund Schedule, which in this case indicates that the 35th day of the semester falls within the 25% refund period. His room charge does not change, as he has occupied the room space from the start of the semester. His board (Jacket Express) charges are adjusted to reflect what he actually used up to and including his last day on campus. John's tuition is changed by 25%, the percentage of the semester/term in which he was no longer enrolled. This is an adjustment of $3,480.50, reducing his tuition from $13,920 to $10,439.50. His room charge remains unchanged at $2,235 and he has used 50% of his Jacket Express (leaving 50%, or $1,167.50). He will receive the remaining 50% of his unused Jacket Express as a credit to his student billing account with the Bursar's Office. His charges are then tuition ($10,439.50) + room ($2,235) + Jacket Express ($1,167.50), for a total of $13,842. (2013-14 figures reflected above.)
In regard to financial aid eligibility, here is what John was receiving at the start of the semester, before he withdrew from his courses:
- BW Scholarship: $5,500
- BW Grant : $2,500
- State Grant: $900
- Pell Grant : $1,800
- Stafford Loan: $1,741 (amount of loan actually received by the student)
- Work-Study: $1,200 (earned $300 during the first 35 days of the semester)
- PLUS Loan: $5,000 (amount eligible, but parents did not take the loan)
With John's withdrawal, his financial aid eligibility is changed in the following ways:
- BW Scholarship: $4,125 (25% adjustment under the College Refund Schedule)
- BW Grant: $1,875 (see above)
- State Grant: $306 (67% adjustment under the Federal Refund Schedule)
- Federal aid: $1,168 (see above)
- PLUS Loan: $0 (wasn't taken and is excluded from calculation )
- Work-Study: $300 (excluded from refund, money earned is kept)
In John's case, he is losing more of his federal/state assistance than the adjustment made in his tuition charges. He is eligible to keep 33% of his federal aid received (grants and loans) since he was enrolled for 33% of the length of the semester. His tuition adjustment was for 25% under the University Refund Schedule. More charges remain on his account. There is no adjustment to his room charge as he occupied the room since the first day of classes. He received 50% of his Jacket Express charge back, as this amount was not yet used (or consumed) by John during his first 35 days of enrollment in the semester/term.
For John to have received a more equitable adjustment between the University Refund Schedule and the Federal Refund Schedule, he needed to have withdrawn from his credits by the end of the third week of the semester. If he had, his tuition adjustment would have been under the 70% University Refund Schedule, and his federal aid would have been under the 80% Federal Refund Schedule for having been still enrolled through 21 of the 105 days of the semester. Instead, he withdrew from classes two weeks later, on the 35th day, which put him in the 25% tuition adjustment and 67% federal and state assistance reduction.
If a student has to withdraw or reduce the number of enrolled credits by dropping a class, it is always financially best for the student to do so as early in the semester as possible.
A quick rule of thumb for "guestimating" how tuition and financial aid might be changed, consider each day from the start of the semester as one percent, and that with each passing day of enrollment, you earn or keep an additional one percent of your financial aid eligibility. So, if you are enrolled for 40 days, then about 40% of your financial aid will remain unchanged.
Note: among your federal aid eligibility, work-study and any federal loans not taken are excluded from a refund calculation. With respect to federal aid, loan assistance is first counted as being returned before any federal gift assistance is returned. In the example involving John, the amount of federal aid he is able to keep is $1,168 in the form of Pell Grant because his student loan assistance made up the first source of aid to be returned.
Here's what may happen if you drop a class...
- If you're still enrolled at 12 credits or more, no changes to your aid or tuition since you're still considered a full-time student. Safe!
- After the end of the Add/Drop week, a change in enrollment from 12 or more credits to 6 to 11 credits will mean a lower tuition and possibly no change in aid eligibility. However, if over time, you don't earn an average of 11 credit hours per semester, you may jeopardize receiving federal student assistance. (See page 11 for more information.) Caution!
- If you're enrolled at part-time status through the first week of the semester, then your charges will reflect part-time enrollment, not full-time enrollment. This also means that only aid which you qualify for as a part-time student can remain. All full-time student aid eligibility is forfeited. Caution!
- If you drop course credit below six credits, the federal government now considers you as enrolled at less than half-time status. Grants, scholarships, work-study eligibility and loans are all affected. Look out; an aid adjustment may be necessary!
- If all credits are dropped for the semester? The same outcome will occur as if you dropped below half-time status. All aid eligibility is affected. Look out again; an aid adjustment may be coming your way!