Refund Policy, Requirements for Withdrawal and
Return of Title IV Financial Aid
Withdrawal from Professional Studies
To withdraw from the College a student must:
• Provide a written request to the Vice President for Student, Alumni and College Development
• Satisfy all obligations to the College
Students considering withdrawal are advised to first meet with the Vice President for Student, Alumni and College Development to discuss reasons for withdrawal. The student should assure that a Withdrawal Clearance Form, available from the Student Affairs Office, is completed and signed by those designated to verify clearance of all financial and other obligations. This form should be completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office within one (1) week of actual withdrawal from classes. No diploma, certification of academic standing or transcript of credits will be released while a student has unmet obligations to the College. Refunds of tuition fees and room charges are based on published College policy and practice. A copy of the Illinois College of Optometry Financial Regulations may be obtained from the Business Office or Student Financial Aid.
Students are entitled to a refund based on the "most fair and equitable" refund policy as defined by the Higher Education Amendments of 1992. Refunds for all students will be provided based upon the policy generating the greatest of either the institutional, federal or pro-rata credit amount. The charges will be based upon the percentage of the enrollment period completed. Sample refunds are available in the Financial Aid Office upon request.
Credit Balance Refunds - Refund checks are issued to students when excess funds exist on their accounts after crediting Title IV funds. Refunds will be issued as soon as possible but no later than fourteen (14) days after: (1) the date of the first day of class, (2) the date the credit balance occurs, or (3) the date the student rescinds authorization to hold a credit balance.
Payment of Prior Year Charges - In general, ICO does not apply current aid funds to prior year balances. A student may request in writing to use current year credits to cover prior year charges that are less than $100.00.
Request to Transfer
The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry discourages transfer of students from one institution to another. However, in certain instances a transfer may be deemed necessary for reasons disclosed by the student. To request a transfer from ICO to another institution, the student should first meet with the Vice President for Student, Alumni and College Development, well in advance of the anticipated transfer date to discuss their situation and to receive counsel on the procedures to be followed, as recommended by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. The Vice President for Student, Alumni and College Development will provide a letter to the institution to which the student is applying for transfer indicating the College has been advised of the students' current enrollment status. The student must sign a release approving any additional information to be provided on the student's behalf.
The College policy for transfer of credit for transfer students entering ICO is to consider the content, clock hours and credit from the previous institution. Because optometry school curricula are largely individual, the decision about transfer credit is made on an individual basis by the Registrar in consultation with the Dean of the College.
If a student withdraws from classes, he/she may be entitled to receive money back which had been paid to the College. ICO may be able to refund all or a portion of the tuition, fees, housing costs, etc. the student paid. If the tuition, fees, housing costs, etc. were paid with financial aid dollars, then all or a portion of the student's refund must be returned to the student aid programs from which the money was awarded according to the mandates of the Return of Title IV Aid Requirements. A student who received credit balance refund to assist with living expenses and then withdraws, drops out, or is expelled, may be required to repay money to the aid programs from which the money was awarded, unless the funds were borrowed under the student loan programs. ICO has designed the following policies and procedures to ensure proper accountability when a student leaves the College.
Refund Policy for all Students
When a student withdraws on or after the first day of class during a quarter and has received (or is eligible to receive) federal student aid, a refund calculation is performed according to the Return of Title IV requirements.
The refund policy reflects the standards of the school’s accrediting agency and State law.
The date used to calculate the refund is determined as follows:
In the case of a student who officially withdraws, the date of the withdrawal.
In the case of a student who unofficially withdraws, the drop out date which is the last recorded date of class attendance as documented by the institution. The Registrar’s Office is responsible for determining and documenting the last day of attendance.
In the case of a student who is expelled, the date of the expulsion.
Refund Policy for Financial Aid Recipients
Institutions are required to have a fair and equitable refund policy for students who receive financial aid. Students receiving financial assistance are subject to an additional refund analysis.
Refund Policy for Title IV Recipients
Upon a student’s complete withdrawal from a term or program, ICO will calculate the percentage of aid and charges earned by the student and the percentage of aid that is required to be returned to the federal financial aid program. For the purpose of Title IV refunds, ICO will identify those students as those who have received a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and/or Graduate Plus Loan since FWS funds are considered earned by the student as compensation for work completed and is not subject to a refund calculation.
For each term, ICO calculates the percent earned as the number of days of the term completed divided by the total number of days in the term. Breaks of five or more consecutive calendar days are excluded from the calculation. This refund calculation applies when a student withdraws or ceases attendance before completing 60% of the term.
Particular break periods that occur throughout the year are:
Academy Week (typically in October/November- Fall or Winter Quarter)
AOA/AOSA (typically in June—Summer quarter)
Thanksgiving Break (November—Winter quarter)
Holiday Break (in December- early January- Winter quarter)
ICO will also calculate the amount of aid that has not been earned and must be returned to the program by calculating the days remaining in the term divided by the number of enrollment days in the term.
ICO institutional charges that are subject to the refund calculation include tuition and mandatory fees and housing charges in the residential complex for those who have a housing contract in effect at the time of withdrawal.
Per federal formula, ICO will return unearned aid that must be refunded to the programs in the following order, as soon as possible but not later than 45 days from the determination of withdrawal or cessation of enrollment:
Direct Unsubsidized Loan
Direct Grad Plus Loan
Federal Health Professions Student Loan
In cases where the calculation indicate that a student has received loan funds in excess of what they have earned based on enrollment, those excess funds will be subject to repayment according to the terms of the promissory note governing the funds. Since ICO students are not eligible to receive Federal Title IV grants, only loans are subject to repayment for unearned aid.
Any credit balance that results from a refund calculation will be disbursed within 14 days after the R2T4 calculation.
Post Withdrawal Disbursement
If the amount of aid awarded to the student that has been disbursed is less than the amount of the aid earned, ICO will calculate a post-withdrawal disbursement. The student will be informed, within the allowed 30 day period after withdrawal, that the funds are available for direct disbursement to the student and can be processed upon the request of the student within that 30 day timespan.
Refund Policy for Institutional Fund Recipients
ICO follows the same procedure for institutional funding.
Distribution of Refund Policies
ICO’s refund and repayment policies are disseminated to students in the Student Guide and are available in the Consumer Information section on ICO.EDU. Students may receive additional information by making an appointment with an Aid Administrator.
If a student withdraws prior to the 60% portion of the term, the Business Office performs the R2T4 calculation utilizing Campus Nexus Student (Anthology) refund calculation tool. The Financial Aid Office verifies the calculation. The Business Office initiates any required return of funds and notifies the Financial Aid Office of the return of funds.
Adjustment to tuition and fee charges are made based on the time period in which the student withdrew and the reason for withdrawal. Tuition may be prorated based on the R2T4 calculation of percentage earned, or may be reversed due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control.
In cases of dismissal, the Financial Aid and Business Offices are notified of the decision and begins the R2T4 process. The calculation is processed the same as a withdrawal. Students who elect and are approved for a Leave of Absence have 180 days in which to return. Failure to return to the academic program within the 180 prompts an R2T4 calculation based on the student’s last date of attendance.