Student Financial Services
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Before You Drop


If you are considering withdrawing your enrollment from Columbia College Chicago, it is important to contact College Advising Center and, if you were awarded federal financial aid funds, Student Financial Services.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds are awarded to students based on the assumption the student will attend classes for the entire period of enrollment. When a student drops, withdraws from all classes or stops attending courses, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of FSA funds originally awarded.

Course Drops

Students may drop courses during the first two weeks  of the semester and receive a full refund of tuition and fees for coursework dropped. Dropped coursework is not included on your academic record and is not considered when determining your financial aid eligibility. For example, a student registers for 6 credit hours and drops one 3-credit course.  This student would only be eligible for 3 credit hours of financial aid eligibility.

Course Withdrawals

Students may withdraw from courses after the first two weeks of the semester through the 8th week of the semester. These courses are included in the calculation of a student’s financial aid eligibility and will show up on a student’s academic record as a ‘W’. All ‘W’ courses are counted toward a student’s completion rate and could affect their satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standing. Students do not receive any refunds for tuition and fees associated with course withdrawals. For example, a student registers for 6 credit hours and withdraws from one 3-credit course later in the semester. This student would be eligible for 6 credit hours of financial aid eligibility and would be charged tuition and fees for these 6 credit hours.

Complete Official Withdrawals

Students receiving federal financial aid who completely withdraw from all of their coursework during a semester are subject to a reduction to their financial aid award. The date of a student’s withdrawal generally determines the amount of the reduction. Completely withdrawing from the semester ultimately affects a student’s completion rate and could impact satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standing. For example, if a student registered for 12 credit hours and completely withdrew from the semester during the 6th week, the student would only be eligible for approximately 6 weeks of federal financial aid funds. Because students are still charged full tuition and fees for course withdrawals, most students who completely withdraw from the semester owe a balance to the college. It is important to discuss your options with your College Advisor and a Student Financial Service representative prior to completely withdrawing from the semester.

Complete Unofficial Withdrawals

Students receiving federal financial aid who do not earn any credits(earn passing grades) at the end of a semester are also subject to a reduction to their financial aid award. The last date of attendance or academic activity for each course that the student received a failing grade generally determines the amount of the reduction. Failure to complete coursework for the semester could impact a student’s completion rate and cumulative GPA which could affect his/her satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standing. For example, if a student registered for 12 credit hours stops attending all classes during the 6th week of the semester, the student would only be eligible for approximately 6 weeks of financial aid. Because students are still charged full tuition and fees for coursework they failed to complete, most students who are considered unofficial withdrawals will owe a balance to the college. It is important to discuss your options with your College Advisor and a Student Financial Service representative before you stop attending classes or submitting assigned work. 

Other Considerations

There are other areas that may be impacted if you drop or withdraw from some or all of your coursework for the semester. It is important to consider these when making your decision:

If you are living on-campus…

Students are required to be actively enrolled in order to remain in campus housing. If you are considering withdrawing from the semester, you should contact Residence Life.

If you receive insurance or benefits…

Many insurance (health, auto, etc.) or benefit policies require active full-time enrollment. Check with your or your parent’s insurance or benefit provider(s) before you decide to drop or withdraw.

If you have borrowed federal loans…

If you drop below 6 credit hours or completely withdraw from the semester, it will affect your federal loan deferment status. If you currently have loans, your loans will lose their in-school deferment status after you drop/withdraw and you may need to start repaying your loans. If you have questions about your loan repayment obligations, contact Direct Loans.

If you have borrowed private educational loans…

If you drop below 6 credit hours or completely withdraw from the semester, it may impact the terms of repayment on your private educational loan(s). In some cases, your lender may require you to begin repayment immediately. In other cases, a lender might also require you to continue making payments even if you enroll next semester. If you are considering dropping below 6 credits or withdrawing from the semester, you should contact your lender.