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VanderCook College of Music

Financial Aid Policies


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 here using an 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 October 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.

Awards Notifications

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

Satisfactory Academic Progress

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.

Federal Refund Policy (Return of Title IV Federal Aid)

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 to the federal government by VanderCook and/or the student. This situation could result in the student owing aid funds to VanderCook, the government, or both. Title IV federal funds include Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Subsidized Stafford Loans, Direct Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Direct Graduate PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grant, TEACH Grant, FSEOG Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.

Voluntary (Official) Withdrawal

Students may voluntarily withdraw from the College at any time. The student 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.

Involuntary (Unofficial) Withdrawal

Students 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 involuntarily 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. If notified of extenuating circumstances (e.g., illness, hospitalization, personal problems, family emergency, etc.), the dean may rescind the withdrawn status. If no written notification is received, the student may receive a Withdrawal Fail (WF) or Involuntary Withdrawal (IW) for each class in which he/she is enrolled. The student will be informed of such action by return receipt mail. The appropriate dean may evaluate special circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Students who fail to adhere to communicated policies and expectations, or engage in unacceptable behavior or academic dishonesty, may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the College. If a student is dismissed from the College, the official date of withdrawal shall be either the last known date of attendance or the date of the candidate appeal. The student may receive a Withdrawal Pass (WP), WF, or IW for all courses in which he/she was enrolled.

Students have the right to appeal any decision. If a candidate chooses to appeal, and the College’s decision is ultimately upheld, the determined date of withdrawal will remain in effect.

Students who withdraw or are dismissed from the College for any reason may be responsible for all incurred financial obligations, as defined by the Refund Policy detailed in this catalog. In addition, a withdrawal fee may also be charged.

Leave of Absence

A request for a leave of absence must be submitted in writing to the appropriate dean (graduate or undergraduate) and must state the reason for the request. Except under extenuating circumstances, the request must be submitted prior to the start of the semester for which the leave of absence is requested, but no later than the official published add/drop deadline for the semester in question. The request must indicate an intended date of return to the College, not to exceed one semester. The dean will then determine if a leave of absence should be granted. Acceptable reasons for a leave of absence include matters of a financial, medical, or personal/familial nature.

If a leave of absence has been granted and the student does not return after one semester, the status may change to non-returning, unless prior approval for an extended leave has been granted by the appropriate dean.

Withdrawal from Courses

Official withdrawal from courses is effective on the date a Withdrawal Form is received by the appropriate dean. Verbal notification to an instructor or to the dean is not sufficient to withdraw or cancel registration.

A student may officially withdraw from courses up to the end of the 10th week of class (or the published withdrawal date) in the fall or spring semesters, and through the end of the third week during the summer term. A Withdraw Pass (WP), Withdraw Fail (WF), or Withdrawn (W) may be entered on the student’s permanent record, as appropriate.

Grades of WF, WP, and W are not factored into the GPA, but are counted as courses attempted but not completed.


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.


If the Title IV calculation results in a credit balance in excess of allowable cost, the Title IV funds will be disbursed to the student or parent as soon as possible no later than 14 days after the credit occurred after the first class of the payment period.

However, VanderCook and/or the student must return the unearned amount (total aid disbursed less the earned amount) to the federal government. The student will be responsible for payment of all institutional charges as well as repayment for any refunds received. The student or parent (in the case of parent loans) is responsible for repayment of loans in accordance to the terms of the loans. The student is responsible for any overpayment of grant funds 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:

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 cancelled and updated with Direct Loans.

Refund of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP Grant)

If a recipient withdraws from enrollment after the expiration of the tuition refund/withdrawal adjustment period, the recipient shall receive MAP grant payment for tuition and mandatory fee costs incurred up to the term award provided the institution’s tuition refund policy indicates the recipient 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

Sale of a Controlled Substance

Ineligibility Period

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 includes at least two unannounced drug tests and has received or is qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly under a federal, state, or local government program:


Every Gift Matters…

Gifts to VanderCook come in many forms and sizes and each one truly makes a difference. You may wonder how a small contribution can matter to the college – how it can “make a dent.” Combined with other donor gifts, even a relatively minor contribution can make a major impact.

Thank you for your generosity and support!

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The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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