Refund Policy

Refund Policy & Return of Federal Funds

Federal regulations require the use of the Return of Title IV Funds policy for all students receiving any type of federal aid, when calculating the aid a student can retain after withdrawing. This policy relates to Federal PELL, Federal SEOG Grants, as well as Federal Perkins, Federal Direct Stafford, and PLUS Loans. At Sterling College, the same policy will be used for state and institutional aid. These regulations govern the return of aid disbursed for a student who completely withdraws from a term or payment period. During the first 60 percent of the period/semester, a student earns aid in direct proportion to the length of time he or she remains enrolled. The percentage of time that the student remained enrolled determines the percentage of disbursable aid for that period that the student earned. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60 percent point earns all aid for the period.

The percentage of the period that the student remained enrolled is calculated based on number of days the student was enrolled. Divide the number of days enrolled by the total days in the enrollment period. Calendar days are used including weekends, but breaks of at least five days are excluded from both the numerator and the denominator.

Distribution of Unearned Aid

If a student has not earned all of the federal aid received to date at the point of withdrawal, funds will be repaid in the following order:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan
  • Federal PELL Grant
  • Federal SEOG Grant
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • State grant and scholarship funds
  • Institutional Aid


In the event a student has received funds for living expenses and an overpayment occurs, Sterling College will notify the student of the overpayment. It is the student‘s responsibility to return the overpayment to the proper federal program. Students who fail to repay overpayment will not be eligible for additional federal financial aid funds, at any institution, until the overpayment has been satisfied. Examples of the application of the refund policy are available to students upon request by contacting the Office of Financial Aid.