Withdrawal or Leave of Absence

If a student leaves school after the start of classes, tuition will be refunded based on the schedule published in the Student Handbook(links to PDF).

If a student received federal loans and then withdraws, a portion of these funds may need to be returned. The federal financial aid refund policy applies to students who have received - or who are eligible to have received - federal financial aid for the semester in which they withdrew.

The calculation of the return of Title IV Funds (Stafford or Perkins) is determined by the date the student withdrew which is:

  • The date the student began the Harvard Kennedy School withdrawal process
  • The date the student officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw
  • The student's last date of attendance at a documented academically related activity
  • The midpoint of the enrollment period for a student who leaves without notifying the institution

For a student who does not return from an approved leave of absence, the earlier of the date of the end of the leave of absence or the date the student notifies the School that he or she will not be returning to the school.

The amount of Title IV aid that is "earned" by a student is based on the percentage of the semester which a student completes. This percentage is computed by determining the total number of days in the semester (excluding breaks that are five or more days in length) and then diving this number by the number of days in the semester.

For example, if a semester is 110 days in length and a student attends for 30 days, the percentage of title IV funds "earned" would be 30/110 = 27.27%.

Once a student has completed 60% or more of the semester, a student is considered to have "earned" the full amount of their title IV funds.

When determining funds to be returned, any amounts to be returned are first applied against Unsubsidized Stafford, then Subsidized Stafford, and lastly Perkins.

Please note: The determination on the percentage of institutional charges owed is not the same as the percentage of federal loans earned. Federal regulations dictate the portion of federal financial aid that can be retained. Students are also reminded that while they may be eligible to retain a certain portion of loans that this represents a loan that must be repaid. Once a borrower has exhausted any grace period the student will enter repayment no later than six months after the last day of attendance. Borrowers are encouraged to review information on deferments and forbearances if they anticipate difficulty in repayment.

Lastly, all students who have a break in attendance are required to complete Student Loan Exit Counseling within 30 days of withdrawal. Please contact the Student Financial Services Office for more information.


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