Withdrawing and Dropping Classes

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.

Students are notified of any changes to their aid resulting from withdrawal, and should check their U-Bill after they have withdrawn. Students who have attended classes more than 60% of the semester will be able to retain all of the financial aid that has been disbursed. However, a student’s eligibility for financial aid in future semesters may be affected (please see our website: Satisfactory Academic Progress).

Students should keep in mind that loans that were disbursed must still be repaid according to the terms of the promissory note.

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.

Unofficial Withdrawal

At the end of each semester, the Office of Student Financial Aid reviews the status 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.

Additional Resources

Iowa State University Catalog