General Information

Award Packaging

The underlying assumption in all federal and institutional financial aid programs is that the primary responsibility for meeting the costs of education resides with parent(s) and students. With that understanding, the Financial Aid Office makes every effort to see that a reasonable proportion of undergraduate students' financial need is met with grant/scholarship resources.  This includes gift aid from outside of the university such as private scholarships and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). The extent of institutional grant/scholarship awards will depend upon these outside resources, individual student financial need, timing of application, and available institutional funding levels.

Financial Aid Awards

Award offers are sent to eligible financial aid applicants as early as the spring or summer prior to the award year. The award offer must be accepted, signed, and returned to the Financial Aid Office within a designated period of time. Any award not accepted is subject to cancellation.

Students determined to be ineligible for financial aid are notified after the applications are received and reviewed.

Financial aid is credited to students' accounts after classes begin, but not before the add-drop period is completed. All aid is used first to cover students' University charges. Refunds of aid to students will be made only after the account balance has been paid in full.


The Financial Aid Office is charged with the responsibility for compliance with federal aid program guidelines, which include ensuring that students do not receive more aid than that for which they are eligible (exceeding the "financial need" amount). In cases where a student has been awarded financial aid and other financial assistance received exceeds the financial need amount, the Financial Aid Office must reduce or cancel any aid it has awarded to avoid "overawards" of federal aid. More information about how your eligibility is determined.

It is essential that students notify the Financial Aid Office of any assistance expected from outside sources (private scholarships, VR); or from other University departments or offices (such as tuition scholarships/waivers, stipends, grants, or other assistance/scholarships) in order to determine what effect, if any, this assistance will have on aid awarded by the Financial Aid Office.


Financial aid awards are based on the information provided by the student or parent on the FAFSA. If this information has changed for the following calendar year or there has been a change in domestic or financial circumstances, the student or parent may write a letter describing the changes and ask for a re-evaluation of aid eligibility. Documentation of these changes or expenses must be sent to the Financial Aid Office.

Registration and Fee Payment

The University will permit students to sign a "promissory note" for the amount of charges due as part of the business registration process completed in BISON prior to the start date for each semester. See Tuition and Fees. All amounts not covered by financial aid must be paid in full by the student or parent by the end of each semester. Financial aid cannot be used for outstanding debts from prior academic years.

Questions regarding outstanding balances or student charges should be directed to the Student Financial Services, (202) 250-2453 (Video Phone) or (202) 651-5145 (Voice). Payments should be made directly to the Cashier's Office, Gallaudet University. Be sure to include the student's name and ID number in the memo of any checks.

Refunds of Financial Aid to Students

Financial aid funds that are posted in excess of student charges will be refunded to students during the third or fourth week of each semester (or after a credit balance appears on the account). Because Gallaudet does not require full payment before the semester begins and students are permitted to start classes without full payment, financial aid refunds are not available before classes begin or before the add-drop period is complete. Students should be prepared to cover initial living expenses and books/supplies each semester. At the end of the add/drop period, student enrollment will be verified and financial aid funds will be disbursed to Student Financial Services and applied towards University charges. Once all charges have been assessed and paid in full, credit balance refunds will be prepared and students will be notified via email of when and where they may collect their refund checks. Students can arrange to have their account refunds direct deposited into their personal bank account(s) via Electronic Fund Transfer. Direct deposit can be established by contacting Student Financial Services.

Academic Progress Requirements

In order to retain eligibility for financial aid from year to year, students must meet the University's standards for satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Generally, students must maintain minimum grade point average (GPA) levels established by the University; and must achieve a minimum percentage of cumulative credits earned to cumulative credits attempted each semester of attendance. Failure to meet the minimum standards will result in termination of financial aid eligibility until such time as the standards are met. More information about Academic Standards for Financial Aid.

Return of Title IV-Federal Financial Aid Funds/Student Withdrawal or LOA

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute 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 payment period or term. Both institutional and federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations.

If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of the semester, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:

Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to be returned = 100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

(For example: a student withdraws after 44 days. This number is divided by the total days in the semester: 44/110 = 40%. This student has "earned" 40% of his/her financial aid. If the student has received $6000 in grants and/or loans, 40%, or $2,400 is earned, and the remaining $3,600 must be returned.)

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal.

Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student may owe a debit balance to the institution.

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans (other than PLUS loans)
  • Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
  • Federal Grad PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants for which a Return of funds is required
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants for which a Return of funds is required
  • Other assistance under this Title for which a Return of funds is required (e.g., LEAP)


Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation – A required calculation to determine the amount of aid earned by the student when the student does not attend all days scheduled to complete within a payment period or term (Student is considered to be a withdrawal, whether any credits were completed or not.)

Overaward [not the same as Return to Title IV calculation] – A required recalculation of Pell Grant and other aid types due to student dropping or not attending credits required for the status awarded (full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, less than half-time); required at any point information received that changes student status. Reductions in aid will always be required for students whose status changes due to dropped classes or classes not attended beyond the course census date.

Return of Title IV funds for programs offered in modules

  • A Module is defined as a course or group of courses in a program that does not span the entire length of the payment period (semester), i.e. 8 week online sessions or summer sessions.
  • Gallaudet University, Financial Aid Office will track enrollment in each module to determine if a student began enrollment in all registered courses. If a student officially drops courses in a later module while still attending a current module, the student is not considered as withdrawn based on not attending the later module. However, a recalculation of aid based on a change in enrollment status may still be required.
  • If a student in modular classes provides written confirmation to a school at the time of ceasing attendance that the student plans to attend another course later in the semester, the student is not considered to have withdrawn if the next schedule class the student is to attend begins within 45 days of the last class the student attended.

Unofficial Withdrawal

All financial aid is awarded to students with the expectation that they will attend classes for the entire semester or award period. Students who cease attending classes but who do not officially withdraw (identified by failing grades for all attempted credits) will be considered as having "unofficially withdrawn", and will be subject to financial aid cancellation according to the date attendance ceased as provided by faculty (or, at a 50% unearned rate if attendance information is not available.). This means, regardless of charges for the period, a student who has ceased attending classes will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn and will have a percentage of his/her financial aid cancelled (based on attendance data), and may be subject to repayment of any financial aid disbursed. If any loans have been disbursed, repayment requirements may take effect as of the unofficial withdrawal date.

Students who cease attending classes and are considered as unofficial withdrawals will NOT BE ELIGIBLE for financial aid for the subsequent semester; and/or until future semester courses have been completed and satisfactory academic progress standards are met. More information about Academic standards for Financial Aid.

PLEASE NOTE: A withdrawal from all or any of your courses could result in a negative effect on your Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Please view the section on Standards of Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid located on this page.