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.
- 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. Financial aid includes both Title IV aid and non-Title IV aid listed below.
Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended in 1998, (Title IV, and HEA program) establishes general rules that apply to federal student financial assistance programs. For purposes of Return to Title IV Funds, these programs include:
Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and Federal Direct Loans.
Non-Title IV funds include:
State Grants such as Cal Grants and Middle Class Scholarships
Institutional funds include University Grants and Loans
When you withdraw, two separate calculations must take place:
- A refund of fees must be calculated.
- The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office must calculate a Return (for federal, state and institutional aid).
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 2023-24 academic year, if you withdraw on or after October 28, 2023 for fall 2023, you will have "earned" all paid fall aid. In spring 2024, if you withdraw on or after March 20, 2024 you will have "earned" all paid spring aid. If you are a LAW student, the 60% date for fall is October 27, 2023 and March 15, 2024 for spring. If you are enrolled in a self supporting program, or study abroad, these dates may vary based on your program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In rare cases unpaid aid may be considered as earned. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will make that determination at the time the return calculation is processed by our office. We will contact you if we determine you may be eligible for a late disbursement or post-withdrawal disbursement.
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 University.
If you are thinking about withdrawing, be sure to complete your participation in each of your classes, so that your aid is accurately assessed in the event you withdraw. Non-attendance/participation does not result in a refund. To learn more, visit the Maintaining Your Aid Eligibility webpage.
Note: In compliance with federal regulation, students who fail to pass all 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 recipient 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 circumstances, 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 courses as attempted when calculating your pace. Dropping an entire term has a larger 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 all courses in a given semester are considered unofficially withdrawn for financial aid purposes. Students will be notified of any aid adjustments that may result. If you never attended or stopped attending classes, you will be billed for all or a portion of your financial aid.
- 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. You must submit a withdrawal request through CalCentral.
Start by visiting the Registrar's Office website to fully understand the steps to take. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will process your aid calculation within 30 days of the withdrawal date and return unearned funds during this timeframe. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will use your withdrawal date to determine the percentage of aid earned based on the number of days since classes began to your withdrawal date.
For scheduled breaks of 5 consecutive calendar days or longer, your withdrawal date is the last day of schedule class prior to the start of the break.
- 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 cancelled if you request a cancellation, but the housing office may charge a fee for cancellation.
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. The Registrar uses the date that you withdraw as the date for recalculating your fees.
As part of the Tuition Stability Plan, the examples below are determined by your tuition cohort based on your first term of enrollment at the University of California.
New Student A (cohort 2023-24) withdraws between day 8 and day 14 of the term.
Original fees/tuition charged prior to withdrawal $7967 (does not include Health Insurance, Class Pass, and Document Management fees).
Student A withdraws on September 1, 2023. The Registrar calculates prorated fees/tuition of $769.60 (10%). However, because the Registrar does not prorate certain fees, such as Health Insurance, Class Pass, Document Management fees, and IREF. The total owed by student A for the term after withdrawal is $3,145.10 ($769.60 + $1929 + $105 + $224 + $117.50).
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.
Student A moved into the dorm and had housing costs of $6,650.00 assessed prior to withdrawal. Student A completed an appeal to have their housing costs cancelled 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 cancellation. 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 withdrawal date to determine how much aid you have "earned" at the time you stop attending class.
Student A who lives in the dorms withdrew on September 1, 2023. 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 $9,042 $8,660 $7,748 $952 Berkeley Undergraduate Scholarship $1,738 $1,738 $1,580 $158 TOTAL $12,155 $11,760 $10,690 $1110
Note that since Student A withdrew on September 1, 2023, the final earned amount of financial aid is 9.1% of total aid.
- Withdrawing Before and After 60% of the Term: Examples
Withdrawing Before 60% of the Term
Student B (cohort 2022-23) is a continuing student who processed a withdrawal with the Registrar after the midpoint of the semester (for 2023-24, the 50% date of the fall 23 semester is October 16, 2023, and the 50% date of the spring 2024 semester is March 9, 2024). 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 $7,594.50
Student B is not living in the dorm so there is no housing cost on the student's account. Student B submits his/her withdrawal request on October 16, 2023. Below is a chart showing the recalculation of earned financial aid.
Financial Aid Term Offered Term Paid Adjusted Amount Term Final Cal Grant A $6,552 $6,552 $0 $6,552 Federal Subsidized Direct Loan $2,750 $2,721 $2,721 $0 Federal SEOG Grant $200 $200 $0 $200 Federal Pell Grant $3,698 $3,698 $589 $3,109 Berkeley Undergraduate Grant $1,038 $1,038 $519 $519 TOTAL $14,238 $14,209 $3,829 $10,380
Note that Student B's earned aid total after withdrawal is $10,380 or 50.0% of the original amount of aid awarded (Cal Grant is based on the total of fees assessed). The total fees are $7,594.50, and before withdrawing, Student B received a refund from financial aid of $6,614.50. 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, $3,828.50.
Withdrawing After 60% of the Term
Student C (cohort 2021-22) withdraws on November 2, 2023. 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 Federal Pell Grant $2,023 $2,023 $0 $2,023 Berkeley Undergraduate Grant $7,300 $7,300 $0 $7,300 TOTAL $9,323 $9,323 $0 $9,323
- 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 summer financial aid is disbursed 10 days before the start of your first 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.
A student is not considered withdrawn if they meet one of the 4 exemptions below:
- Graduation exemption: completes all requirements for graduation in the Summer term. Confirmation by your College and the Office of the Registrar is required
- 49% exemption: successfully completes a session or combination of sessions that is 49% of the Summer term with passing grades (A, B, C, D, P or S)
- 6 units (half-time) exemption: successfully completes 6 or more units with passing grades (A, B, C, D, P or S)
- Written confirmation of future attendance: temporarily stops the withdrawal process upon confirming attendance in a future session when dropping all classes in the current session. Withdrawal calculations will still be required if the student does not attend the confirmed session or does not remain enrolled. Read more about this exemption under Dropping Summer Classes After the First Day of Class
Meeting a withdrawal exemption will exempt you from the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) calculation; your financial aid will still recalculate based on your enrolled units.
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.
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 student account, 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. 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 must submit a Withdrawal Request through CalCentral for each session to officially withdraw. If you failed to pass all courses in a given semester and did not complete the official withdrawal process, you are considered unofficially withdrawn for financial aid purposes. You will be billed for all or a portion of your financial aid if you stopped attending or never attended any classes.
- 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 a course or withdraw completely. We encourage you to review the resources below:
- Withdrawal FAQs
What happens to my financial aid after I submit the withdrawal form?
After submitting the withdrawal e-form on CalCentral, it is routed to your college for approval. If approved, the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office (FASO) is notified of your withdrawal. It typically takes 30 days for our office to complete the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) calculation to determine how much aid you are eligible to keep. You can log in to CalCentral to view your account.
What is the difference between withdrawing before the start of instruction and withdrawing during the semester?
If you submit a withdrawal form prior to the first day of instruction, withdrawing from all of your courses, then this is considered a cancellation and your aid will be canceled for that term. If your financial aid disburses and you receive a refund, you will need to return it. These funds will be bill back through Cal Central.
If you submit a withdrawal form on or after the first day of instruction, this is considered withdrawing during the semester, and you may have to pay back all or a portion of your aid for that term. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will complete a Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) calculation to determine the amount of aid you are eligible to keep. Please see example calculations under “Recalculating Fees, Housing, and Financial Aid: Examples” on the Withdrawing from Classes or School page of our website.
To determine the percentage of assessed tuition and fees, a separate calculation is completed by the Office of the Registrar based on your withdrawal date. There are charges that are nonrefundable and not prorated, as of the first day of instruction; for more information on this, please refer to the Office of the Registrar’s chart on the Refunds After Withdrawal page of their website.
For withdrawals during the Summer, please see the section on Withdrawing or Dropping Coursework in Summer Sessions in the dropdown menu above.
How much will I owe?
You may owe money to UC Berkeley after withdrawing as you may no longer be eligible for all of the financial aid you received. The amount you owe will vary and is based on the sum of your outstanding balance prior to withdrawing, how much aid you will need to return and the percentage of fees assessed. Please refer to the Housing Office’s “Withdrawal from the University” section of their Policies website for more information regarding the Housing Office’ s withdrawal policy and process.
What happens to my financial aid after I withdraw?
Once the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) calculation is completed, the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will send an email notification to your Berkeley email informing you of how much financial aid you will be able to keep. You can see the financial aid awards adjustments reflected in your CalCentral account.
If you are employed in a work-study job, you cannot continue to earn work-study if you are no longer enrolled. Your last day to earn work-study funds is the last day of your enrollment. If your employer wants to continue your employment, your employer may choose to do so, but your employing department will be responsible for paying 100% of your earnings without the work-study subsidy. This arrangement would be between you and your employer and any earnings after your withdrawal date will not be work-study eligible. You must immediately notify your employer of changes in your enrollment.
How does my withdrawal affect/impact my future financial aid eligibility?
When you withdraw, the attempted units in the withdrawn term are included in the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) calculation and can impact your eligibility for aid in future terms. Please review the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for additional information.
What happens to my aid next year?
Your financial aid is based on the aid application for the next school year and maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Make sure to submit your completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). Both aid applications become available October 1st every year and will determine your eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid: https://financialaid.berkeley.edu/apply-now/apply-for-aid/.
What happens to my federal student loans when I withdraw?
Your federal student loans go into grace period or repayment after one of the following things happen: graduation, stop attendance (withdraw) or enrollment is less than half-time (6 units). You are required to complete exit counseling and you should receive communication from your loan servicer regarding repayment.
How do I get readmitted after withdrawal?
Please refer to the Registrar’s Office readmission process.