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Withdrawing from Classes or School

While the number of students who decide to withdraw from all classes during a term at UC Berkeley is low, individual circumstances may lead you to consider this option. Reasons for withdrawal may include illness, a family emergency, or the need to take a break from school. It is important to consider a number of factors before making your decision about withdrawal.

If you are thinking about withdrawing from Summer Sessions, please see the section below on summer, as the way we recalculate aid eligibility for dropped coursework in summer is different from the fall and spring terms during the nine-month academic year.

Factors to Consider in Making a Decision to Withdraw

You May Owe Money to UC Berkeley

If you are a financial aid recipient and you withdraw, you may no longer be eligible for all of the financial aid you have received. You may have to pay back all or a portion of your aid. While you may be eligible for reduced fees, the reduction in fees may not cover the reduction in financial aid. This is especially true if you received a refund or choose to stay in a dorm after withdrawal.

While the Registrar considers you to have "earned" all your fees at the midpoint of the term, the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office uses the federal definition for determining when all aid is considered to be "earned", which is after the 60% mark of the term. For the 2016-17 academic year, if your last date of attendance is on or after November 1, 2016 for fall, you will have "earned" all paid fall aid. In spring 2017, if your last date of attendance is on or after March 22, 2017 you will have "earned" all paid spring aid.

In rare cases unpaid aid may be considered as earned. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will make that determination at the time the withdrawal is processed by our office. We will contact you if we determine you may have earned some unpaid aid.

Note: In compliance with federal regulation, students who fail to pass any courses in a given semester are considered unofficially withdrawn for financial aid purposes. Students will be notified of any aid adjustments that may result.   

Your Withdrawn Term Is Counted Toward Your Academic Progress for Financial Aid

Financial aid recipients are expected to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. Carefully review the requirements for maintaining satisfactory academic progress as an aid in deciding whether withdrawal is the best option for you.

While reviewing the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, please consider the following:

Would dropping a course be a better option, given your particular circumstance, rather than completely withdrawing from school? While dropping a course can have an impact on the number of units accrued in the term, you may be able to make up for lost units in a subsequent term.

Even if dropping a course may lead to a future Satisfactory Academic Progress issue for you, you may always appeal for more time to finish school.

If you withdraw from the entire term, the rules for Satisfactory Academic Progress require that we count the withdrawn semester when calculating years of attendance. Dropping an entire term has a bigger negative impact on maintaining satisfactory academic progress than dropping one, or even two, courses.

If you decide that dropping a course is a better option than withdrawal from the term, be sure to keep notes and any documentation of the circumstances leading to this decision. You can use these notes and documents if you need to file a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal later on.

Note: In compliance with federal regulation, students who fail to pass any courses in a given semester are considered unofficially withdrawn for financial aid purposes. Students will be notified of any aid adjustments that may result.

Withdrawing From the Fall or Spring Term

If you have stopped attending class and know that you will not finish the term, there are official steps to take to withdraw from the term.

Start by visiting the Registrar's Office website to fully understand the steps to take. This website will direct you to the appropriate academic department to complete your withdrawal. Your college or major advisor will determine your last date of attendance. This is an important step in completing the withdrawal because the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will use the reported last date of attendance to determine whether financial aid will be reduced.  The U.S. Department of Education requires the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office to use a last date of attendance, rather than the date you withdraw, to recalculate your financial aid.

Recalculating Fees, Housing, and Financial Aid: Examples

It's important to understand that both your fees and your financial aid may be recalculated at the time you withdraw. The Registrar and the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office use different criteria for prorating fees and financial aid, so the resulting proration of fees due and aid reduced by each office will not necessarily match. If you are in the dorms, your housing contract may be canceled if you request a cancelation, but the housing office may charge a fee for cancelation.

How does the Registrar recalculate my fees? 

The Registrar's Office bases their recalculation of fees on a chart that can be found on their website. In recalculating your fees the Registrar uses the date that you withdraw as the date for recalculating your fees.

Example:

New Student A withdraws between day 8 and day 14 of the term. 

Original fees/tuition charged prior to withdrawal $6,6 84.25 (does not include Health Insurance, Class Pass, and Document Management fees)

Student A withdraws on September 6, 2016. The Registrar calculates prorated fees/tuition of $668.42 (10%).  However, because the Registrar does not prorate certain fees, such as Health Insurance, Class Pass, Statement of Intent to Register (SIR), and Document Management fees, the total owed by student A for the term after withdrawal is $2,227.42 ($668.42 + $1559). 

How does the Housing Office recalculate my housing cost?

The Residential & Student Service Programs office does not automatically recalculate or prorate housing charges when you withdraw. If you are currently in a dorm and want to move out after withdrawal, the Cal Housing Assignments office can provide information on steps to take to request a cancelation of housing cost.

Example:

Student A moved into the dorm and had housing costs of $6,178.00 assessed prior to withdrawal. Student A completed an appeal to have their housing costs canceled and the Housing Office agreed to cancel the housing cost. Because Student A is moving out of the dorm after moving into the dorm, the Cal Housing Assignments office will charge a fee for cancelation. Student A will owe the fee as well as the prorated registration tuition/fees.

How does the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office recalculate my financial aid awards?

The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office uses the last date of attendance to determine how much aid you have "earned" at the time you stop attending class.

Example:

Student A withdrew on September 10, 2016, but reported a last date of attendance as September 3, 2016. The following chart shows how Student A's aid is adjusted:

 

Financial Aid

Term Offered

Term Paid

Adjusted Amount

Term Final

Subsidized Student Loan 1

$625

$619

$619

$0

Subsidized Student Loan 2

$750

$743

$743

$0

Parent Plus Loan

$9,046

$8,660

$7,698

$1,004

Berkeley Undergraduate Scholarship

$1,738

$1,738

$1,571

$167

TOTAL

$12,159

$11,760

$10,631

$1,171

Note that since Student A ceased attending class September 3, 2016, the final earned amount of financial aid is 9.6% of total aid.

Withdrawing Before and After 60% of the Term: Examples

Withdrawing Before 60% of the Term

Student B is a continuing student who processed a withdrawal with the Registrar after the midpoint of the semester (for 2016-17, the 50% date of the fall 2016 semester is October 20, 2016, and the 50% date of the spring 2017 semester is March 11, 2017). The Registrar determines that the student has prorated fees/tuition of 100%, so no reduction of fees/tuition will be made. Student B's total fees are $6,937.25

Student B is not living in the dorm so there is no housing cost on the student's account. Student B's last day of attendance is the same day their withdrawal was processed with the Registrar, October 28, 2016. Below is a chart showing the recalculation of earned financial aid. 

Financial Aid

Term Offered

Term Paid

Adjusted Amount

Term Final

Cal Grant A

$6,147

$6,147

$0

$6,147

Subsidized Student Loan

$2,750

$2,721

$2,483

$240

FSEOG

$200

$200

$0

$200

Pell Grant

$2,908

$2,908

$0

$2,908

Undergraduate Grant

$1,038

$1,038

$,442

$596

TOTAL

$13,043

$13,014

$2,925

$10,091

Note that Student B's earned aid total after withdrawal is $10,091 or 57.4% of the original amount of aid awarded (plus Cal Grant, Cal Grant is based on the total of fees assesed). The total fees are $6,937.25, and before withdrawing, Student B received a refund from financial aid of $6,076.75.  At the time of withdrawal Student B did not have a balance and since none of their tuition and fees are being reduced, Student B owes the amount of aid that was retracted, $2,925.

 

Withdrawing After 60% of the Term

Student C withdraws on November 4, 2016. Tuition/fees proration is 100% so there is no adjustment to fees. Since the student withdrew after the 60% mark, there is no adjustment to financial aid.

Financial Aid

Term Offered

Term Paid

Adjusted Amount

Term Final

Pell Grant

$2,048

$2,048

$0

$2,048

Undergraduate Grant

$7,300

$7,300

$0

$7,300

TOTAL

$9,348

$9,348

$0

$9,348

Withdrawing or Dropping Coursework in Summer Sessions

UC Berkeley's summer programs are offered in a series of sessions that make up a single term. Your aid is disbursed for all sessions at the beginning of your first enrolled session. The recalculation of aid in the summer is based on several factors, such as whether you are dropping out of a whole Summer Session or whether you are dropping one session but adding or keeping another session in your summer program of study. Another possibility is that you may drop all of your summer enrollment. When this happens aid is recalculated based on the last day you attended classes.

Even if you are not completely withdrawing from all Summer Sessions, changes in enrollment in summer courses will most likely have an effect on the amount of aid you are eligible to receive. Fee and living expense adjustments to your summer budget may also occur. Any of these changes may result in a bill. 

Dropping Summer Classes or Sessions

Dropping a course from one of your Summer Sessions will cause your summer financial aid awards to be revised. How your aid is adjusted depends on when you drop the courses.

Dropping a Session Before your First Summer Session

If you drop all of your classes before the session begins, but retain enrollment in future session(s), you will have aid adjusted to reflect the change in the number of weeks you are attending class.

Example:

You have two classes in Session A and two classes in Session C, for a total enrollment period of 12 weeks. You drop both Session A courses before Session A begins, but retain at least 6 units of enrollment in Session C. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will recalculate your aid budget from 12 weeks to 8 weeks, and your aid will be adjusted.

What if your Session C courses were less than 6 units? You would then lose eligibility for financial aid.

Will you be billed for your aid? If the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office has already applied your aid to your CARS bill, then the adjustment to your budget and aid will likely result in a bill.

Dropping Summer Classes After the First Day of Class

If you drop all of your classes from your current session, but remain enrolled in future sessions, the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will take steps to determine your intentions regarding future enrollment:

We will contact you by email asking if you intend to attend your future session. The email will come from summerwithdraw@berkeley.edu. You will have 7 calendar days to respond to our inquiry. You do not need to wait to hear from us about this if you have dropped a session and plan to attend the future session. You can let us know by sending an email directly to summerwithdraw@berkeley.edu.

We will adjust your aid depending on your response. If in your response, you confirm that you plan on attending a future session, we will adjust your summer budget and aid to reflect the number of weeks for that session. If we do not hear from you or you state that you will not be attending future sessions, we will have to complete a withdrawal calculation. Aid is projected for all sessions you were enrolled in and any changes will result in a budget and aid adjustment. You will likely be billed for unearned aid intended for the session(s) you dropped or will not attend.

It is a good idea to visit Cal Student Central and ask to see a counselor about the possible effects of withdrawal from summer courses. You can also open a case on the Cal Student Central website to ask your question.

Dropping All Summer Classes

If you drop all courses before your first session begins, you are canceling your enrollment in summer and all aid will be reduced to zero. However, you will be assessed a $100.00 cancellation fee so be sure to have a plan in place to pay this fee out of pocket. Visit the Summer Sessions website to learn how to cancel your enrollment. Failing to show up for class is not considered an official cancellation.

What happens if I stop attending, or never attended any classes, but did not cancel my enrollment? 

You will be billed for all or a portion of your financial aid.

Be Informed Before Making a Decision

It is a good idea to discuss your decision about dropping courses or withdrawing with your college or major advisor and with the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office before you decide whether to drop enrollment or withdraw completely from the Summer Sessions. Visit Cal Student Central for an appointment with a financial aid advisor.