Enrollment Change, Withdrawal, or Leave of Absence

Students who modify their enrollment, either in an increase or decrease in semester credits, or a change their program must notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing of any changes. Regardless of whether charges on your student account are adjusted or not, an adjustment may be required to your financial aid award.

Students with federal education loans must be enrolled at least half-time to receive the loans and to continue to qualify for in-school deferment. For financial aid purposes:

  • JD Program: Full-time is considered 10 or more credits per semester for Day Division students and 7 or more credits per semester for Evening Division students. Half-time enrollment is considered 5-9 credits per semester for Day Division students and 4-6 credits per semester for Evening Division students.
  • LL.M. Program: Full-time is considered 9 or more credits. Half-time enrollment for LL.M. students is considered 5 or more credits.
  • Summer Semester: Students must be enrolled at least half-time during the summer to receive federal aid. Half-time enrollment is considered 3 credits for JD and LL.M. students and 6 credits for Dual Degree students enrolled solely in CAS or SSOM classes.

Students with federal loans who are enrolled less than half-time must complete exit counseling.

Withdrawal/Leave of Absence

Students are awarded Title IV funding (federal aid) with the assumption they will attend the entire period for which aid was awarded, typically a semester or term. The Office of Student Financial Services is required to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a semester.

Federal Aid Recipients

If a student wishes to withdraw or take a leave of absence from a term, he/she must contact the Law School Dean of Students Office to complete the appropriate forms. The effective date of the withdrawal is defined as:

  • The date the student began the Withdrawal process with the Office of Academic Services, or
  • The date the student began the Leave of Absence process with the Law Dean of Students Office, or
  • The student's last date of attendance

This process also applies to students who drop all of their classes for the semester.

Federal regulations require that any student awarded Title IV assistance who takes a leave of absence or withdraws is subject to a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation. This calculation is based on the official withdrawal date as determined by the Dean of Students and can result in an adjustment to Title IV funding. The calculation is based on the percentage of Title IV aid earned by determining the number of days the student completed as a percentage of the number of days the student was expected to complete. Students are considered to have earned 100% of their Title IV aid if they are in attendance through 60% of the term. Unearned title IV funds need to be returned to the appropriate federal programs which may result in the student owing a balance to the university. Title IV funds are returned in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
  • Subsidized Federal Direct Loan
  • Federal PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG

If a student is enrolled exclusively in courses that do not span the entire semester, that student is considered to be enrolled in modular courses. As of Fall 2020, students who are enrolled in modular courses are not considered to have withdrawn if they successfully complete one module that includes 49% or more of the number of days in the payment period; or a combination of modules that when combined contain 49% or more of the number of days in the payment period. Scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days and all days between modules are excluded from the number of days in the payment period used to calculate whether the modules(s) completed by the student comprise 49% of the payment period.

Unofficial Withdrawals

At the end of the semester, The Office of Student Financial Services is notified of any student who did not complete any classes for which he/she was registered. Students who cease to attend and do not earn any credit for the term are considered unofficial withdrawals. Unofficial withdrawals are also subject to the R2T4 calculation.

In some cases, federal loans already refunded to the student may need to be returned to the lender. Please note that his could result in an outstanding tuition balance owed to Suffolk University.

Other actions you may need to take if you are considering a withdrawal or leave of absence

Institutional Aid Recipients

If a student withdraws or takes a leave of absence prior to incurring 100% tuition liability, all institutional aid is returned. One hundred percent tuition liability occurs after the add/drop period and the last day to drop a class without a ‘W’ grade. Once a student incurs 100% tuition liability, no adjustment is made to institutional aid.