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What happens if I don't complete my classes?

Financial aid is awarded with the expectation that the student will attend school for the period in which the assistance is awarded. If the student does not attend course or does not complete the course(s), financial aid must be reviewed based on actual attendance. Students who never attended a course are not eligible to receive financial aid for that course.

The decision to withdraw from classes is an academic decision that has financial repercussions. If you are unsure of what is best for you academically, we recommend making an appointment with your academic advisor.

The long-term effect of not completing courses may result in a loss of federal aid eligibility.

For an explanation please refer to Financial Aid Standards of Academic Progress.

The short-term effect of not completing all courses in a semester is a Return of Title IV Funds calculation. This calculation is required by federal regulation for any student who received federal aid but stopped attending course(s).

Many Return of Title IV Funds calculations create a balance on the student account, and student are not eligible to register for future terms until that balance has been paid in full. Future financial aid cannot be used to pay the past balance.

The actual amount returned will depend on the actual last date of attendance. The calculation and return of financial aid to the government will be completed within 45 days.

In order to ensure that no federal aid would need to be returned, a student would need to at least one academically-related activity after the 60 percent date of the enrollment period. For more information, see the Columbia College's Return of Title IV Funds page or the Return of Title IV Funds section of the Undergraduate Catalog. The following chart shows the 60 percent dates of regularly scheduled courses, which a student must attend beyond in order to avoid a return of federal funding.

Regularly scheduled courses are courses that begin and end with the dates listed in the academic calendar. Financial Aid should be contacted for the 60 percent date of any courses that fall outside of these dates.

Day Campus courses


Term Enrollment Period 60% Point
Fall 2017 Semester
08/28/2017 - 12/16/2017
10/28/2017
Spring 2018 Semester
01/08/2018 - 04/28/2018
03/10/2018

Evening/Online/Nationwide courses (undergraduate and graduate)


Term Enrollment Period 60% Point
Full Fall 2017 Semester
08/28/2017 - 12/16/2017
11/02/2017
  Early Fall Term Only
08/28/2017 - 10/21/2017
09/30/2017
  Late Fall Term Only
10/23/2017 - 12/16/2017
11/25/2017
Full Spring 2018 Semester
01/08/2018 - 04/28/2018
03/15/2018
  Early Spring Term Only
01/08/2018 - 03/03/2018
02/10/2018
   Late Spring Term Only
03/05/2018 - 04/28/2018
04/07/2018
Full Summer 2018 Semester
04/30/2018 - 08/18/2018
07/05/2018
   Early Summer Term Only
04/30/2018 - 06/23/2018
06/02/2018
   Late Summer Term Only
06/25/2018 - 08/18/2018
07/28/2018

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