Policies & Procedures


To apply for financial aid at VanderCook, all students must complete a free application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). We encourage applicants to file the FAFSA online at using a FSA ID for their electronic signature. Students and parents who need an FSA ID may apply at The VanderCook Title IV code is 001778. Applications for financial aid should be completed by April 1 for the following fall term.


Students may be randomly selected by the Department of Education for verification. Students selected for verification may be asked to submit additional information including signed tax returns for the parent(s) and student, a verification worksheet, and other financial documents.

Award Notifications

After the financial aid process is complete, students will receive an award letter detailing their eligibility. This letter is an estimate of the available assistance that a student can expect to receive during the academic year.

Federal Refund Policy (Return of Title IV)

The federal government mandates that students who withdraw from all classes may only keep the financial aid they have “earned” up to the time of withdrawal. Title IV funds that were disbursed in excess of the earned amount must be returned by VanderCook and/or the student to the federal government. This situation could result in the student owing aid funds to VanderCook, the government or both.

Candidates may voluntarily withdraw from the college at any time. The candidate must notify the appropriate dean in writing of the intention to withdraw. The date the letter is received will be considered the last day of enrollment.

Candidates who do not attend any registered classes for a consecutive period in excess of two weeks (14 consecutive calendar days) without permission of the appropriate dean are voluntarily withdrawn from all classes. The official last date of enrollment will be fixed as two weeks from the last date of attendance in classes, as determined from an examination of class attendance records.

In general, the law assumes that the student must “earn” federal financial aid awards directly in proportion to the number of days of the semester the student attended. In other words, a student earns financial assistance as they attend class. If a student completely withdraws from all classes during a semester, VanderCook must calculate the portion of the total scheduled financial assistance earned. If the student received (or the college received on behalf of the student) more assistance than earned, the unearned excess funds must be returned to the federal programs.

To determine the amount of aid the student has earned up to the time of withdrawal, the Financial Aid Office will divide the number of calendar days the student attended classes by the total number of calendar days in the semester (less any scheduled breaks of five days or more). The resulting percentage is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed either to the student’s account or to the student directly by check for the semester. This calculation determines the amount of aid earned by the student that he can keep. However, VanderCook and/or the student must return the unearned amount (total aid disbursed less the earned amount) to the federal government. The financial aid office will provide instructions to students who are required to return funds to the government.

Any unearned Title IV aid must be returned to the federal government within 45 days of the date of the determination of your withdrawal.

Any student who has completed more than 60% of the semester is considered to have “earned” all of his/her financial aid. No refund of any institutional charges, nor return of Title IV federal funding is required.

Allocating Returned Title IV (Federal) Aid

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs. Financial aid returned must be returned in the following order:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Parent Loan)
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement

If a financial-aid-eligible student withdraws from courses prior to disbursement, a calculation is completed to determine the amount of earned aid for the term. This disbursement may help to reduce a student’s balance for the withdrawn term. This disbursement is called a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement.

If a student qualifies for a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement, any funds the student is eligible to receive, based on the return calculation, will be applied to the student’s account within 30 days. If a student qualifies for a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement from loan funds, a letter will be sent to the student (or parent in case of a Direct PLUS Loan) stating the amount of the loan disbursement the student is eligible to receive. The student must then reply within 14 days to give authorization for the disbursement. If written authorization is not received, the loan will be canceled and updated with Direct Loans.

Refund of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP Grant)

Per the rules of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, if an IL MAP Grant recipient withdraws after the tenth class day of the semester, the student may receive a MAP grant payment for costs incurred up to the semester award, provided the college's tuition refund policy indicates that the student has incurred charges in the amount of the claim.

Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

A student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs for conduct that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal aid as defined as grant, loan, or work assistance, during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the following specified intervals:

Possession of a Controlled Substance

Ineligibility Period

First Offense - 1 year

Second Offense - 2 years

Third Offense - Indefinite

Sale of a Controlled Substance

Ineligibility Period

First Offense - 2 years

Second Offense - Indefinite

A student who has lost eligibility for financial aid based on the possession or sale of a controlled substance may regain eligibility before the above stated ineligibility period if:

The student successfully completes a drug rehabilitation program that:

1. Includes at least two unannounced drug tests

2. Has received or is qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly under a federal, state, or local government program:

a. Is administered or recognized by a federal, state or local government agency or court

b. Has received or is qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federal- or state-licensed insurance company

c. Is administered or recognized by a federal- or state-licensed hospital, health clinic or medical doctor




As required by the U.S. Department of Education, VanderCook College of Music has established a policy to determine if an otherwise eligible candidate is making satisfactory academic progress in his or her education program and may continue to receive Title IV assistance. Title IV pro­grams include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans. There are three components of this policy: Qualitative Measure (cumula­tive GPA), Pace (formerly “Quantitative Measure,” or at­tempted courses completed), and Maximum Time Frame.

Click here to learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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