Tuition Refunds :: Northern Virginia Community College

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Tuition Refunds

Policy Number: 611

Categorized: Student Services

Responsible Office: VP Finance

Subject: Tuition refunds and forgiveness of debt

Related Policies: Student Grievances


Additional Information:

Effective Date:

Last Reviewed Date: 10/17/2017

1.0 Scope

This policy applies to all students.

2.0 Policy Statement

Tuition refunds and forgiveness of debt (for tuition due) are not automatic, except for courses canceled by the College. Students will receive a refund for credit courses dropped by the Census Date or “last day to drop with tuition refund or change to audit” as published in the Schedule of Classes each semester.

Students will be issued a refund for courses or sections canceled by the College unless another course or section carrying the same number of credits has been added prior to the processing of the refund. In this case, the refund will be applied to the tuition cost of the added course or section. In order to avoid financial responsibility, students must drop classes they decide not to attend. Students should never assume their courses will be dropped automatically, or by someone else; it is the student’s responsibility to make sure their course is dropped.

Approval of a refund or forgiveness of debt for classes dropped after the drop deadline (Census Date) is not guaranteed. All requests must meet specific criteria for special circumstances as established by the State Board of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and Northern Virginia Community College.

3.0 Definitions

Census date: last day to drop with tuition refund or change to audit, as published in the Schedule of Classes each semester. For special session classes (dynamic session classes), the census date is individually set.

4.0 Procedures

4.1 Requests for Refund/Forgiveness of Debt

All requests for refund/forgiveness of debt after the drop deadline (Census Date) are exceptions to the VCCS policy. There is no refund of tuition or forgiveness of debt after the Census Date has passed except in very special circumstances (occurring after the Census Date and prior to the last day of classes). The following procedure must be followed to request a refund or forgiveness of debt:

  • The student must withdraw from all pertinent classes for the semester before submitting a request. However, prior to withdrawal, it is recommended that the student meet with an advisor to discuss possible options.
  • The student must write a letter, including appropriate supporting documentation, to the business manager at the campus where the course is located. The request must include an explanation of at least one of the following special circumstances:
    1. Medical Emergency defined as an extended illness or major medical issue affecting the student or members of the student’s immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother, wife, child, or grandparent) occurring after the Census Date. Include a letter signed by the physician (on letterhead not a prescription pad) attesting to date of injury or illness, requirement that student not continue classes, and the duration of required absence. Requests must be submitted within 90 days of date of problem as per physician’s letter. Requests based on medical emergency may be pro-rated.
    2. Death of the student or a member of the student’s immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, child, or grandparent). Attach to the request a copy of the death certificate, obituary, or applicable court documents. Requests must be submitted within 90 days of the date of death.
    3. National Emergency or Mobilization declared by the President of the United States and in accordance with Section 23-9.6.2 of the Code of Virginia. Attach a copy of military activation orders. Requests must be submitted within 90 days of the date of orders.
    4. Administrative Error of the College. The request should explain the circumstances of the administrative error, including dates, names of employees, and publications if applicable. Requests must be submitted within 90 days of the date the error was first discovered or made known. Disagreements with faculty teaching methods or style, treatment, or grading procedures are not considered administrative errors by the College and must be resolved by contacting the division dean or through the Student Grievance procedure.
    5. Extreme Financial Hardship on the part of the student. The request should explain the circumstances, outlining the financial issues and provide documentation as appropriate. The student should be advised that in some cases information such as tax returns, eviction/foreclosure documents, and/or employment termination documentation may be required prior to determination. No refund of previously paid tuition will be granted. This exception applies only to forgiveness of existing, unpaid tuition debt.

The following circumstances do NOT qualify for a refund or forgiveness of debt:

  1. Failure to drop classes, assuming the courses would be dropped automatically because of non-payment or non-attendance.
  2. Misinterpretation or lack of knowledge of College policies and procedures.
  3. Dissatisfaction with course content or instructor, and/or academic progress in course.
  4. Inadequate investigation of course requirements, including prerequisite requirements.
  5. Requests based on a pre-existing medical condition prior to the census date.
  6. Change in personal work schedule/hours, geographic location, or available transportation.

4.2 Communication

Students will be sent a letter, via U.S. Mail, advising them of the approval or denial (with an explanation) of their request. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the College has a current and correct address on file, which can be accomplished using NOVAConnect.

Official communications will be transmitted only by U.S. mail or to the student’s NOVA e-mail address. Communications with individuals other than the student may require written consent of the student in accordance with the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

4.3 Refunds

If a refund/forgiveness of debt is approved, it may be prorated.

  • For an issue that occurs in the first quarter of the course, a full refund/forgiveness of debt may be approved.
  • For an issue that occurs in the second quarter of the course, a refund/forgiveness of debt of 50% may be approved.
  • No refunds/forgiveness of debt are granted for issues occurring in the second half of a course, regardless of the justification, with the exception of death of the student.
  • In the case of the death of the student, a full refund/forgiveness of debt will be approved. In the case of death of a family member, a refund/forgiveness of death may be prorated. In the case of death of the student, if it is necessary to process a refund via check, the check will be made payable to the “Estate of (student’s name).”

If a refund is approved, the student will receive a refund check mailed to their address or a credit applied to their credit card, depending upon the form of initial payment.

4.4 Grades

If a refund is granted for a documented administrative error, the course will be dropped from the official transcript. Requests granted for any other reason will remain on the student’s official transcript, but those courses will be marked as an approved withdrawal with the appropriate indicator added.

4.5 Financial Aid

All issues regarding financial aid should first be discussed at the College Financial Aid Office. Forgiveness of debt will NOT be considered if the student has already received financial aid funds. Final decisions for approval of requests involving financial aid funds require the consent of the College Financial Aid Office.

4.6 Refunds for books

Book refunds are handled directly by the campus bookstore and are subject to Barnes and Noble refund policies.

4.7 Appeals

Appeals to denials must be submitted to the campus business manager within 30 days of the notification of the original request denial, and will be reviewed and processed by a higher authority. Appeal requests must include factual information as to what basis the denial is considered incorrect. All decisions routinely take a minimum of 10 business days to be determined. Students will be sent a letter advising them whether or not the appeal has been approved.

5.0 Authority

VCCS Policy 4.3.2