Return of Title IV (R2T4): It's as Easy as Pi
Submitted by Dave Bowman, Regional Marketing Director
R2T4 and the mathematical constant pi have something in common. Each of them is a simple concept that can be difficult to fully comprehend. For that reason, we're happy to give you a hand by simplifying R2T4, and pointing you toward other helpful resources. (You'll want to see a math professor for help with understanding pi.)
The logic for Return of Title IV (R2T4) is straightforward: if a student ceases attendance prior to the planned ending date, he or she may not be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds they were scheduled to receive. Where it gets more complicated is figuring out the definitions and calculations for the return of funds, depending on whether the academic program is term-based, with or without modules, or non-term clock or credit hour.
Modular programs, which offer students flexibility to enter and withdraw from school during a defined period of enrollment, create unique challenges. R2T4 calculation errors, among the more common audit and program review findings, can be costly and inconvenient. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) suggests that performing these calculations accurately is easier if you:
- · Use comprehensive systems to monitor and accurately track the number of days completed in the payment period.
- · Implement effective procedures for tracking enrollments and monitoring deadlines related to R2T4.
- · Establish communication alerts between campus offices involved with monitoring student attendance.
Timely and accurate R2T4 calculations may allow student loan customers who don't return to school within the grace period to experience the full advantage of their grace period, which can help lower your school's default rates. Regardless, to allow students to make informed decisions about withdrawing from all classes, you'll want to clearly communicate the following in your consumer information:
- · Requirements and procedures for officially withdrawing from the school
- · The school's tuition refund policy
- · The treatment of Title IV funds when a student withdraws
There are many resources available to help with making accurate R2T4 calculations. Session 21 from the 2013 Federal Student Aid conference provides helpful definitions, clarification, case studies, and other resources, such as information about signing up for ED's free R2T4 on the Web (https://fsawebenroll.ed.gov/PMEnroll/index.jsp). You may also find it helpful to participate in free trainings, such as a SmartSessions™ webinar Great Lakes offers on Credit-based Programs and R2T4, or others that are available.
Dave Bowman is a Regional Marketing Director with Great Lakes, serving schools in Tennessee and Kentucky. You can reach Dave at (888) 685-1604, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about Great Lakes can be found online at schools.mygreatlakes.org.