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Enrollment Changes and Withdrawals

Initial Enrollment and Attendance

Please keep in mind that students must start attendance in each of their registered courses for which they are awarded financial aid. If a student does not initially attend their course, then the financial aid awarded to cover the cost of that course will be reduced.

Census Dates and Enrollment Changes

The Financial Aid Census Date is the point at which a student’s enrollment status is locked for financial aid purposes. This is the date the MassBay Financial Aid Office takes a "snapshot" of students' enrollment to establish the "official enrollment" for reporting purposes and financial aid eligibility. At this point in the term, credit hours are locked and financial aid for the term is adjusted to reflect the student's enrolled credits that are eligible to receive financial aid.

To ensure receipt of the maximum Pell Grant for which you are eligible as well as avoid having to pay back Pell Grant funds already posted to your account, students are STRONGLY encouraged to finalize their course schedule no later than the Census Date.

If the student increases or decreases their credit load BEFORE the census date, their financial aid may be adjusted, as appropriate, for their enrollment level. If the student’s financial aid is reduced and it creates a balance due on their student account, the student will be responsible for payment.

If the student adds or drops credits AFTER the census date, the student’s financial aid WILL NOT be adjusted. Classes added after the Census Date will not be eligible to be counted for Pell Grant eligibility purposes. The student will be responsible for any additional charges not covered by your financial aid award as of the census date.

Students should contact the MassBay Financial Aid Office before adding or dropping courses to learn if it will impact their financial aid award. This office is happy to assist you with this information which will result in the student making an informed decision.

MassBay adjusts awards potentially 3 times a semester, as required by federal law, based on your enrollment as of a specific date at the end of each add/drop period that applies to a student’s schedule.

How a Withdrawal Affects Financial Aid

Federal Student Aid (FSA), also known as Title IV funding, is awarded under the assumption that a student will complete course(s) for the entire semester and/or payment period for which the funds were awarded. When a student ceases attendance, officially and/or unofficially, in a course, regardless of the reason, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of financial aid funds originally awarded.

The return of financial aid funds to the federal government is based on the premise that financial aid is earned in proportion to the length of time during which the student attended. A pro-rated schedule determines the amount of federal aid a student has earned while attending. For example, a student who withdraws in the second week of the semester has earned less of his/her financial aid than a student who withdraws in the fifth week.

Remember, financial aid that is awarded for a student who never begins attendance in any class will have those funds canceled.

If a recipient of financial aid stops attending MassBay Community College after beginning attendance, the amount of funding earned by the student must be determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, the unearned funds must be returned to the federal and state program(s). If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and for which the student is otherwise eligible, he or she is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid that was not received.

If a student officially or unofficially withdraws, ceases attendance, or is administratively withdrawn from MassBay, federal regulations require MassBay to calculate the amount of financial aid funds earned during the term from which the student withdrew.

The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal (officially or unofficially) date divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester/payment period. Breaks of 5 days or longer are not included in the count of total days in the payment period.

As a result of a withdrawal, students who received federal and state funds will be required to repay unearned aid.

After the refund calculation is processed, the student will receive notification of their new revised award amounts in their MassBay email account. It is the student's responsibility to pay any outstanding debt owed to the institution. A hold will be placed on the student's account and they will not be allowed to register for classes until their outstanding bill is paid. If a student's loan disbursement has been reduced, that portion will be returned to the U.S. Department of Education which will then reduce the student's overall indebtedness.

Students are strongly encourage to seek counseling from the MassBay Financial Aid Office prior to withdrawing from the college so we can help inform you about possible financial impact. This will result in the student making an informed decision. We are here to help.