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Operational Policies


Fees, Charges, and Insurance

  1. Late Enrollment Fees
  2. Late Payment Charges
  3. Bad Check Charges
  4. Student Health Insurance
  5. Administrative Fee for Sponsored International Students

Refund Policies

  1. Course Fees and Tuition

Financial Aid

  1. Stafford Loans
  2. MEDLOANS/Alternative Loans
  3. Perkins/HPL
  4. National Merit Scholarship Checks
  5. Other Anticipated Aid
  6. Refunds of Excess Financial Aid

Financial Aid Refund Policy

  1. Dropping Credits
  2. Withdrawal from the University

Return of Funds Policy for Title IV Aid Recipients Who Withdraw

Return of Funds Policy for Military Tuition Assistance (TA) Funds


  1. Late Enrollment Fees (applies to students in degree granting programs only)

    Fall & Spring Semesters:

    • All students who initially enroll on the first day of classes or after will be charged a $100 late enrollment fee

    Summer Semesters:

    • Continuing students who initially enroll on the first day of classes or after will be charged a $100 late enrollment fee.
  2. Late Payment Charges

    A $30 late payment charge will be assessed on any past due student account. This includes, but is not limited to, past due payment plans, rent payments, tuition adjustments, and adjustments to financial aid awards.

  3. Bad Check Charges (Includes rejected ACH payments)

    A $25 bad check/ACH fee will be assessed to a student whose registration check/ACH does not clear the bank when presented. Students failing to redeem their registration checks/ACH by the date stated on the notification letter will have their registration canceled.

    There is a $25 fee assessed for each non-registration check/ACH which does not clear the bank when presented.

    In addition to the assessed bad check/ACH fee, the University reserves the right to take one or more of the following actions:

    • Place an enrollment hold.
    • Place the individual on the University Bad Check/ACH List which precludes the individual from cashing checks at the University and may be a cause for denying future short term loans.
    • Transfer the debt to a collection agency.
    • File a complaint with the police for possible prosecution.
    • Refer the student to the Judicial Affairs Office for disciplinary action.
    • Bring civil action against the individual for the amount of a returned check/ACH not redeemed within 30 days of the date of the notification letter and $250 in costs. In addition, the court could rule that you must also pay the greater of $100 or two times the amount of the returned check/ACH. If you pay the total amount due within 30 days, no civil action will be taken against you.
  4. Student Health Insurance

    For information regarding Student Health Insurance, please refer to the MSU Student Health Insurance Plan

  5. Administrative Fee for Sponsored International Students

    Organizations sponsoring international students will be charged an annual administrative fee for services and support rendered. The fee of $750 is assessed in two installments of $375 each for the Fall and Spring semesters for students who register at those times.

Refund Policies

  1. Course Fees and Tuition

    If a student withdraws from the University or drops a course, the refund policy is:

    • For changes made through 1/4th of the term of the class (measured in weekdays - not class days), one hundred percent (100%) of the semester course fees and tuition for the net credits dropped will be refunded.
    • For changes made after the 1/4th of the term and through the end of the session, no refund will be made for any credits dropped, nor may courses be exchanged, even when counted by GA tuition waiver. Appeals concerning the refund policy should be referred to the Registrar's Office.

    Net refunds due to a drop of credits or withdrawal from the University are processed daily and posted to the student's account. Amounts due students will be applied against outstanding balances owed the University or refunded to students. Questions regarding account balances should be referred to the Student Accounts Office, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road Rm 140.

    • Program Fees are refunded in the same percentage as course fees when withdrawing from the University or dropping from above 4 credits to 4 credits or less.
    • Student Government Taxes, FM Radio Tax, and The State News assessment are refundable upon presentation of the appropriate receipt at the respective organization's office by the publicized date.

    Except for the last two weeks of the semester, residents granted a contract release will be refunded unused housing and food service payments for the balance of the academic semester. Details are found in the Rules for Living in the Residence Halls (pdf).

Financial Aid

All financial aid (except College Work Study) which has been authorized at the time the billing statement is produced, will appear on the bill. There are two types of financial aid - actual and anticipated.

Actual financial aid is aid which you are eligible to receive, as of the date of the bill. This aid will be listed in the "Financial Aid" transaction section of the bill. It has been applied to the fees you owe, reducing the amount you owe.

Anticipated financial aid will be listed separately on the bill, in the "Anticipated Financial Aid" section. Anticipated aid is not an actual payment on your account; it does not reduce the amount you owe. Anticipated aid is used to reduce the amount needed to establish a payment plan.

  1. Federal Loans

    Anticipated aid becomes actual aid 1) when you have accepted all aid as required and completed on-line or paper promissory notes as needed for any student or parent loans; 2) when parent loan credit checks are approved and the record is received by MSU; and 3) when the legal disbursement date for federal loans has arrived (generally 10 days before the first day of your first class)

    You may view your financial aid awards in the MSU Student Portal

  2. Alternative Loans/Scholarships

    Some private loans and scholarships are still issuing funds by check. If you have a such an award, you may be asked to visit the Office of Financial Aid in the Student Services Building, 556 E. Circle Dr Rm 252, to endorse your check. Make sure your MSU student ID number is on the check as well.

  3. National Merit Scholarship Funds

    The National Merit Scholarship will appear as anticipated financial aid on your account until MSU receives actual funds from National Merit at the beginning of the semester.

  4. Other Anticipated Aid

    Follow the instructions that that appear on the Financial Aid portion of the MSU Student Portal. Eligibility for each of the different awards is monitored at various points in the semester, ranging from the point of time it is credited to your account, to the end of the semester. You should refer to the Office of Financial Aid page for more specific information.

  5. Refunds of Excess Financial Aid

    If the total of your actual financial aid (no longer anticipated aid) exceeds the amount you owe, you are entitled to a refund. Refunds will be directly deposited or mailed to your local address (if provided) the week before classes begin. If your aid is finalized after this, refunds are produced several times a week through the first week of class and directly deposited or mailed the following workday. After this period, refunds are produced and directly deposited or mailed weekly.

Financial Aid Refund Policy

  1. Dropping Credits
    • Students may be billed for a portion or even all of their financial aid awards if they drop credits or do not carry the minimum number of credits required for aid eligibility.
    • The value of Federal Pell Grant, MSU Student Aid Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Michigan Competitive Scholarship is determined each semester at the end of the 100 percent refund period (the first quarter of the semester).
    • Students will be billed for aid adjustments caused by changes in enrollment status.
  2. Withdrawal from the University
    • In addition to billing for the dropping of credits associated with withdrawal, there may be additional billing, particularly if a student has received federal financial aid funds (including Federal Stafford Loan) which were to have covered the entire semester's educational costs. Refer to the next section for more detailed information on Title IV withdrawal refund rules.
    • Withdrawal through the first quarter of the semester will result in 100 percent billing of federal grant aid (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Pell Grant) and Michigan Competitive Scholarship and may also result in a partial or complete billing of loan aid (Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Stafford Loan) and other financial aid.
    • The bill calculated as a result of withdrawal will depend on the official date of withdrawal and/or the last date of attendance and the percentage and amount of institutional refund to be received.
    • Withdrawal for any semester during the regular academic year may result in cancellation of a student's financial aid award for the remainder of the academic year. If a student wishes to reapply for funds for spring semester, a written request must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid within 30 days of withdrawing from the University.

Return of Funds Policy for Title IV Aid Recipients Who Withdraw

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998, as well as the program integrity regulations in 2010, set forth regulations governing the treatment of Title IV funds when a student withdraws from an institution.

There are three types of withdrawals that fall under the return to Title IV (R2T4) federal calculation regulations:

  1. Official Withdrawals – student contacts the Registrar’s Office or their advisor to initiate an official withdrawal for a semester, or the student drops all of their courses through WebEnroll. For Title IV purposes, the withdraw date for students who officially withdraw is considered the date the student initiates the withdrawal by dropping all courses or contact’s the Registrar’s Office or their advisor.
  2. Unofficial Withdrawals - If a student begins to attend class, receives federal Title IV aid, but then ceases to attend class without providing official notification to the University, the Federal Government considers this to be an "unofficial withdrawal". For Title IV purposes, the withdrawal date for students who unofficially withdraw is considered to be the midpoint of the semester unless a documented last date of attendance can be determined. However, if the University determines that a student did not provide official notice of the intent to withdraw due to illness, accident, grievous personal loss or other circumstances beyond the student’s control, the University may use a date that is related to that circumstance. The refund rules for Title IV aid recipients who withdraw are then followed to determine the unearned portion of Title IV aid that must be returned to the appropriate aid program(s).
  3. Modular Withdrawals – If a student is enrolled in a standard, term-based program offered in modules (subterms) and ceases attendance at any point prior to completing the payment period or period of enrollment, unless the school obtains written confirmation from the student at the time of the withdrawal that he or she will attend a module that begins later in the same payment period or period of enrollment, the student is considered a withdrawal for Title IV purposes. If written confirmation of future attendance is received from the student but the student does not return as scheduled, the student is considered to have withdrawn from the payment period or period of enrollment and the students withdrawal date and the total number of calendar days in the payment period or period of enrollment would be the withdrawal date and total number of calendar days that would have applied if the student had not provided written confirmation of future attendance.

When a student is considered to have withdrawn, as described above, during an enrollment period in which they have begun attendance and received federal Title IV financial aid, Michigan State University is required to determine the amount of earned and unearned Title IV aid. A student is only eligible to retain the percentage of Title IV aid disbursed that is equal to the percentage of the enrollment period that was completed by the student (calculated daily). The unearned Title IV aid must then be returned to the appropriate federal aid program(s) within 45 days of the date of the determination of your withdrawal. If more than 60% of the enrollment period has been completed by the student, no Title IV aid needs to be returned.

According to university policy, when a student withdraws prior to the quarter of the semester and/or receives a 100% tuition refund from the university, all of that semesters federal Title IV grant aid (SEOG, Pell Grant, Federal Teach Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant) will be billed back to the students account. Most non-federal aid will also be billed back to the students account. All Title IV aid will be included in the calculations outlined below. Depending on the results of the calculations, some or all of the federal grant aid may be re-disbursed to the student account.

The following steps will be followed when determining the amount of Title IV aid to be returned upon withdrawal:

  1. Determine percentage of enrollment period completed by student. Divide the number of days attended by the number of days in the enrollment period. If the calculated percentage exceeds 60%, then the student has earned all Title IV aid for the enrollment period.
  2. Calculate the amount of earned Title IV aid. Multiply the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the total Title IV aid disbursed (or could have been disbursed as defined by late disbursement rules).
  3. Determine amount of unearned aid to be returned to Title IV aid program accounts. Subtract the amount of earned federal aid from the total amount of federal aid disbursed. The difference must be returned to the appropriate Title IV aid program(s).
  4. Return of Title IV funds by institution and student:
    • MSU will return unearned Title IV aid up to an amount that is equal to the total institutional charges for the payment period multiplied by the percentage of the Title IV aid that was unearned. Generally, a students tuition and fee refund and/or University Housing refund will satisfy this liability. On occasion, however, particularly when the student remains in University Housing beyond the withdrawal date, a bill will result.
    • The student will be responsible for the balance of unearned Title IV aid. In most cases, this will be the amount of federal aid funds a student received in the form of a refund for non-institutional expenses multiplied by the percentage of Title IV aid that was unearned.
      • If the students portion of aid to be returned is a loan, then the student is not immediately required to repay the loan. The terms of the original loan repayment agreement will apply.
      • If the students portion of aid to be returned is an overpayment of a grant, the student is required to only repay the amount exceeding 50% of the total grants. MSU will restore the grant funds to the appropriate federal account, with a resulting charge to the students account. The student will be responsible for repaying MSU for the grant overpayment.
  5. Unearned Title IV Funds will be returned to federal programs within 45 days and must be allocated in the following order:
    1. Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
    2. Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans
    3. Federal Perkins Loans
    4. Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS)
    5. Federal Direct Grad Plus
    6. Federal Pell Grants
    7. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity (SEOG)
    8. Federal Teach Grants
    9. Iraq and Afghanistan Grant
    10. Other Grants

A student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement if, prior to withdrawing, the student earned more federal financial aid than was disbursed. If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement for Title IV funds, it will be processed for the student and a refund will be issued within 14 days of the credit balance.

If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Michigan State University must get the student’s permission before it can disburse the loan. Students may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that s/he does not incur additional debt. A notice will be sent out to the student, and the signed, original document must be returned to the School within 14 days.

Michigan State University may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. However, the school needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give his/her permission, the student will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce the student’s debt at the school.

It is also important to understand that accepting a post-withdrawal disbursement of student loan funds will increase a student’s overall student loan debt that must be repaid under the terms of the Master Promissory Note. Additionally, accepting the disbursement of grant funds will reduce the remaining amount of grant funds available to the student should the student continue his/her education at a later time.

Example of a Title IV return of funds calculation for a Title IV recipient who is considered to have withdrawn:

Title IV Return of Funds Amount
Institutional Charges $5,000
Title IV Loans $2,000
Title IV Grants $1,000
Total Title IV aid $3,000

Student withdrew on 35th day of a 110 day enrollment period.

Percent Earned    35/110 = 32%

Percent Unearned 100% - 32% = 68%

Amount of Title IV aid unearned $3,000 x 68% = $2,040

MSU is responsible for returning the lesser of unearned Title IV aid ($2,040 from above) or unearned institutional charges ($5,000 x 68% = $3,400). MSU will return aid as follows:

  • Title IV Loans $2,000 (students remaining loan debt = 0)
  • Title IV Grants $ 40

The students responsibility is amount of aid unearned ($2,040) less school responsibility ($2,040), which is zero.

The example shown above does not reflect every student refund situation that may exist. More detailed calculation examples are available in the Student Accounts Office, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road Rm 140, East Lansing, MI 48824, 517-355-5050, Fax 517-353-9640. Questions regarding the Return of Title IV Funds Policy for students who withdraw should be addressed to the Office of Financial Aid.

The University reserves the right to amend the Title IV Return of Funds Policy at any time in order to comply with Federal regulations.

Military Tuition Assistance

Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of TA funds originally awarded.

To comply with the new Department of Defense policy, Michigan State University will return any unearned TA funds on a prorated basis through at least the 60% portion of the period for which the funds were provided. TA funds are earned proportionally during an enrollment period, with unearned funds returned based upon when a student stops attending. These funds are returned to the military Service branch.

Instances when a Service member stops attending due to a military service obligation, Michigan State University will work with the affected Service member to identify solutions that will not result in student debt for the returned portion.


When a student “officially” withdraws from a course, the date of withdrawal will be used as the last date of attendance. If a student receives a zero grade for a course, that is considered an “unofficial” withdrawal.

For unofficial withdrawals, Michigan State University (MSU) will determine the last date of attendance (LDA) by reviewing the last date of activity within a course. For online courses, MSU will determine LDA based on the last date a student made a contribution to the class or submitted an assignment. For face to face courses, the LDA is reported by the instructor on the grade report.

Once the LDA has been determined, MSU will recalculate the TA eligibility based on the following formula:

For 16-week Course Withdraw, if submitted:

Before or during weeks 1 – 4 = 100% return
During weeks 5-8 = 10% return
During week 9 = 10% return (60% of course is completed)
During weeks 10-16 = 0% return

For courses that have durations differing from the 16 week calculation above, if submitted:

Before classes begin through the quarter of the course = 100% return
From quarter of the course through 60% completion = 10% return
After 60% completion = 0% return