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Leave of Absence/Withdrawal and Financial Aid

Students considering withdrawal should begin the process of withdrawing by contacting the Student Affairs Office. Financial aid counselors are available to help with questions about how the withdrawal may affect financial aid.

Students who withdraw or take a leave of absence after classes have started may be eligible for a tuition refund according to Macalester’s refund policy published in the College Catalog. Eligibility for a tuition refund is based on the date established as the student’s last date of academic activity. This date will be determined by the Student Affairs Office, based on communication from the student’s professor(s).

Institutional Financial Aid Refunds
Grants and scholarships from Macalester will be adjusted so that the percentage of tuition paid by Macalester grants and scholarships is consistent. For example, if Macalester grants and scholarships aid paid 50% of tuition before withdrawal, Macalester financial aid will pay for 50% of post-withdrawal tuition.

Room and board refunds are pro-rated based on the date the student moves out of the residence facility for students withdrawing from the College. There is no automatic proration for students taking a Leave of Absence, although there is an appeal process to request proration. Students may contact the Residential Life Office to obtain an estimate of what a charge would be based on a specific checkout date.

Refund calculations for Federal Student Aid recipients are regulated by federal requirements and differ from the institutional policy.

Return of Title IV Federal Student Aid
Federal Student Aid includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and/or Federal PLUS Loans.

Federal Student Aid regulations require that Macalester reduce a student’s Federal Student Aid if the student withdraws before completing more than 60% of a semester. The withdrawal date is based on the established and documented last date of academic activity of the student, which is determined by the Student Affairs Office.

An Unofficial Withdrawal occurs when a student stops attending classes and/or leaves campus without notifying the college.  If the last date of academic activity cannot be established, the college will automatically use the semester mid-point date (50% completion); funds will be returned based on the student completing 50% of the semester.

A federally mandated calculation is used to determine how much federal funding was “earned” up to the time of withdrawal. Federal funds that were disbursed in excess of the “earned” amount must be returned to the federal government by the College and/or the student. Any unearned Title IV aid must be returned to the federal government within 45 days of the date of the determination of the withdrawal.

The percentage of Federal Student Aid that must be returned is equal to the number of days remaining in the semester at the time the student withdraws, divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester. Scheduled breaks of more than five consecutive days are excluded from the denominator. Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs and must be returned in the following order:

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  2. Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  3. Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement
A student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement if, prior to withdrawing, the student earned more federal financial aid than was disbursed. If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV funds, it will be processed and a refund will be issued to the student within 14 days of the creation of a credit balance on the student account.

If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Macalester College must get the student’s permission before it can disburse the loan. Students may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that s/he does not incur additional debt. A notice will be sent out to the student, and the signed, original document must be returned to the College within 14 days.

Macalester may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. However, the College needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other college charges. If the student does not give his/her permission, the student will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the College to keep the funds to reduce the student’s debt at the college.

It is also important to understand that accepting a post-withdrawal disbursement of student loan funds will increase a student’s overall student loan debt that must be repaid under the terms of the Master Promissory Note. Additionally, accepting the disbursement of grant funds will reduce the remaining amount of federal grant funds available to the student should the student continue their education at a later time.