A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Houghton College Financial Refund Policy

Refund Policy

Houghton College’s refund policy is in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations. The policy applies to all students who do not complete the enrollment period for which they have been charged.

Houghton College uses student accounts to assess charges and apply payments and credits against those charges. Financial aid payments are applied to student accounts after the close of the add/drop period. If a student’s account balance is a credit, it is the policy of the college to refund the credit to the student in a timely manner under most circumstances. Credit balances caused by financial aid are refunded after careful evaluation of the student’s account and eligibility for aid. If a credit balance refund is due to the student, the refund is made to the student within 14 days, as required by the federal regulations for Title IV funds. Refunds will typically be issued in the form of a check made payable to the student and mailed to the student’s preferred address. The student may also request to pick the check up on campus at the Student Financial Services Office.

If the student wishes to keep the credit balance on his or her student account, the Student Financial Services Office must have a written and signed request from the student, as required by the federal regulations for Title IV funds. However, a credit balance due to Title IV funds may not be carried forward from one academic award year to the next in any circumstance. At the end of the award year any credit from Title IV funds in the amount of $1.00 or more is automatically refunded to the student.

The term “Title IV Funds” refers to the federal financial aid programs authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) and includes the following programs: Federal Direct loans, Federal PLUS loans, Federal Perkins loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Teach Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants (TEACH), Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, Leveraging Education Assistance Partnership (LEAP) and Special LEAP (SLEAP) Grants.

Eligibility for refund is dependent on a number of factors and will be determined by the Student Financial Services Office.

In the case of course cancellation by the institution, credit equal to 100% of tuition and fees will be given.  Students suspended for academic or disciplinary reasons will not be entitled to a refund of tuition, fees, room or board.

A credit balance on student accounts as a result of withdrawal will be refunded in a minimum of two weeks after the student has officially withdrawn through the Academic Records Office.

Change in Enrollment Status

If a student changes enrollment status after he or she has received a refund based on financial aid, the student  may be required to repay all or part of the aid received to Houghton College or to the appropriate federal or state aid programs. Students receiving federal aid who change enrollment status or withdraw from the college will have federal aid adjusted in accordance with formulas prescribed by the Federal Title IV Program.

A student who withdraws from Houghton College receives only the balance that remains on his or her account after the appropriate refund calculations have been made by the Student Financial Services Office in accordance with the Return of Federal Title IV Funds Policy below.

A student’s withdrawal date is the date the student begins the institution’s withdrawal process or officially notifies the institution of intent to withdraw; or the student’s last date of attendance at a documented academically-related activity; or the midpoint of the period for a student who leaves without notifying the institution. Refunds on all charges, including tuition, room and board, and special fees, will be prorated on a per diem basis based on the academic calendar up to the 60 percent point in the semester. There are no refunds after that time. If a student stops attending classes and begins the withdrawal process but remains on campus utilizing his or her room and/or board for an additional amount of time, separate dates will be used to calculate room and board refunds. Furthermore, board refunds take into account the amount of flex dollars the student has used. Health insurance coverage, if purchased through the college, is non-refundable to the student. However, the health insurance policy remains active and the student may continue to use the health insurance for the period purchased. Students withdrawing before the classes begin for a given term will receive a 100 percent refund of charges. A copy of the worksheet used for the refund calculation can be requested from the Student Financial Services Office.

Students who are granted a medical withdrawal receive a refund of charges prorated on a per diem basis up to the 100 percent point in the semester. The Office of Student Life must approve a medical withdrawal. Students who are granted a leave of absence are treated in the same manner as students who withdraw from the college.

Return of Federal Title IV Funds Policy

Title IV aid and all other aid is earned in a prorated manner on a per diem basis based on the academic calendar up to the 60 percent point in the semester. Title IV aid and all other aid is viewed as 100 percent earned after that point in time.

In accordance with federal regulations, when financial aid is involved, refunds are allocated in the following order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, Federal Direct Subsidized loans, Federal Perkins loans, Federal PLUS loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal SEOG, other Title IV assistance, other federal sources of aid, other state, private and institutional aid, and lastly, the student.

The following outlines the policy in greater detail.

Funds Returned

Houghton College returns unearned funds received from Federal student assistance programs to the proper program accounts or lenders in accordance with Federal Title IV student assistance regulations, as amended, under 34-CFR, section 668.22(d) of the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

A student receiving aid from Federal Title IV programs is required to complete a minimum number of hours for which aid was received. If a student completely withdraws from school during the semester, or stops attending but fails to officially withdraw, the student may be required to return the unearned part of the funds received to help pay educational expenses for the semester. Liability for return of Federal Title IV funds will be determined in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • If a student remains enrolled and attends class beyond the 60 percent mark of the semester in which aid is received, all federal aid is considered earned and not subject to this policy.

  • If a student completes the institution’s withdrawal process before the 60 percent mark of the semester, a pro-rated portion of the federal aid received must be returned to the federal aid programs equal to the percentage of the semester remaining.

  • If a student fails to complete the institution’s withdrawal process but stops attending classes, a pro-rated portion of the federal aid received, based on the last documented date of attendance, must be returned to the federal aid programs. If the institution is not able to document the last date of attendance, one-half of all federal aid received during the semester must be returned to the federal aid programs.

Return of Federal Title IV funds will be distributed according to statutory regulations. Worksheets/formulas provided by the U.S. Department of Education will be used to determine the amounts and order of return. If a student’s share of the return amount exists, the student will be notified and allowed 45 days from the date of determination to return the funds to the Student Financial Services Office of the institution for deposit into the federal programs accounts. If the student fails to return the amount owed within the 45-day period, the amount of overpayment will be reported to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) via the National Student Loan Database (NSLDS) and the student will be referred to the DOE for resolution of the debt.  When necessary, unearned aid will be refunded to the appropriate programs based on these regulations.

Funds Disbursed

When a student officially or unofficially withdraws, the Student Financial Services Office will determine if the student is entitled to a post-withdrawal disbursement. Post-withdrawal disbursement occurs when the student receives less federal student aid than the amount earned (based on the withdrawal date). Houghton College will then offer a disbursement of the earned aid that was not received. All post-withdrawal disbursement offers will be made within 14 days of the date Houghton College determines that the student withdrew.