Withdrawal and Leave of Absence

A withdrawal or leave of absence from Boston University must be arranged through the University Service Center and is effective on the date that the University is notified.

Tuition Refund Guidelines

The tuition refund for students who withdraw or take a leave of absence on or after the first day of classes is calculated in accordance with the University’s refund policy, as published by the Office of the University Registrar in Withdrawals and Leaves of Absence.

Requests for refunds should be directed to Student Accounting Services. Requests for exceptions to the published tuition refund schedule must be submitted in writing to the University Service Center.

Adjustment of Financial Assistance

When a student withdraws or takes a leave of absence on or after the first day of classes, but before 60% of the semester has passed, their financial aid award is adjusted.

The University calculates the appropriate adjustment to University charges. The resulting refunds due and payable to each of the various financial aid programs and to the family are also calculated. If the student still has outstanding charges due to the University, any refund due to the family is automatically credited toward that outstanding balance. Any refund in excess of the balance is sent to the family.

Federal financial aid is adjusted in accordance with federal regulations. After tuition charges have been adjusted, University grant is adjusted to an amount that will cover the same percentage of tuition as was covered prior to the adjustment. These regulations and guidelines govern how much money is refunded to the family or how much money the family will still owe the University. The family is expected to provide the full family contribution calculated for the semester, since they have the primary responsibility for paying educational expenses.

Federal financial aid regulations stipulate that if a student who began attendance and did not officially withdraw fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course over an entire semester, the university must assume that the student has unofficially withdrawn unless the institution can document that the student engaged in some form of academic activity beyond the 60% point of that term in at least one course. To retain full eligibility for federal financial aid a student must be engaged in some type of academically related activity beyond 60% of the enrollment period. BU must return unearned federal financial aid funds to the source – which in most cases will result in a charge to the student’s account – for any student who does not engage in an academically related activity beyond the 60% point of the semester in at least one course during that semester.

Example of Financial Aid Adjustment

John Smith withdraws from Boston University on 1/30/20, which is after the first day of classes.

John received a financial aid award that includes federal financial aid. Based on the day John has withdrawn, John should receive an 80% refund on their tuition, fees, room and board.

To determine what happens to John’s financial aid, the following takes place:

BU Financial Assistance determines what financial aid has been disbursed to John’s student account for that semester and what aid was awarded but not yet disbursed. This aid can include federal, institutional or state financial aid. For this example, let’s assume the following aid has been disbursed to John’s student account:

Federal SEOG $1,000
Federal Pell Grant $2,500
Federal Subsidized Direct Loan $2,500
BU Grant $10,000
Total Aid $16,000

Based on the number of days in the semester and the date that John has withdrawn, a determination is made as to the percentage of federal aid earned. For example, if the semester begins on 1/21/20 and and ends on 05/09/20 there are 101 days in that semester. John withdrew on 1/30/20 which means that they attended for 10 days. 10 days of enrollment divided by 101 days of the semester mean that John has earned 9.9% of their federal aid. Using John’s figures, this is how it looks:

John’s Federal Aid $6,000
Percentage John earned 9.9%
Initial amount earned by John $594
Amount returned by school $5,406

The order that aid is refunded back to the federal government follows this order:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • Other Title IV programs

Based on the above calculation, Boston University would be required to return all of John’s Subsidized Direct Loan, Pell Grant and $406 of their Federal SEOG.

In some instances, the student will have earned federal aid that has not yet been disbursed to their student account. In these instances, students are notified of their eligibility and asked to respond to BU Financial Assistance within 14 days if they want this aid applied to their student account.

In the determination of institutional grant, the same percentage of grant that covered John’s original tuition charge will now cover their new tuition charge.

Original tuition $20,000
Original BU Grant $10,000
Percentage of tuition covered by grant 50%
Revised tuition based on 80% refund $4,000
Revised BU Grant $2,000