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Definitions and Policies

The following definitions and policies are stated in accordance with regulations of the U.S. Department of Education's Title IV Higher Education Assistance (HEA) funding programs. These definitions and policies apply to all financial assistance awarded by Curtis Institute of Music.

Academic Year

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Leave-of-Absence Policy

Withdrawal Policy

Return of Title IV Funds

Return of Title IV Funds Distribution Policy

Verification Policy

Title IV Code of Conduct

Academic year

The academic year is composed of two semesters consisting of fifteen weeks each, for a total of thirty weeks of instruction. In order to be eligible for Title IV Higher Education Assistance (HEA) funds, full-time undergraduate students are expected to complete a minimum of twenty-four semester-hours and full-time graduate students are expected to complete a minimum of eighteen semester-hours during this period. A student is considered full-time with twelve or more credits per term as an undergraduate student and nine credits per term as a graduate student.

Satisfactory academic progress

Federal requirements stipulate that a student receiving U.S. Government Title IV funding (loans and/or grants) must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 and must make satisfactory academic progress toward completion of his or her degree. Any student whose course completion or GPA falls below the minimum will be on probation during the subsequent semester for purposes of federal funding. Students will be informed in writing if a probation period applies. The annual minimum must be achieved by the conclusion of the next term in order for the student to again be eligible for federal funds for the next term. Federal regulations require that a student complete the program of study within 150 percent of the published definition of the regular program period (usually four years for the Bachelor of Music program, two to three years for the master’s program).

All students are subject to the following academic policies as stated in the Student Handbook under the title "Scholastic Standing":

Students are on probation during the entire period of their enrollment at Curtis. Students are expected to progress according to the standards of the faculty and to adhere to the rules of  Curtis Institute of Music. Students in the Bachelor of Music program must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average in musical studies and liberal arts subjects. International students must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average in all academic subjects.

Exceptions to these policies for students receiving supplemental financial assistance will be addressed by the Curtis Financial Assistance Committee. Students who wish to have any special circumstances reviewed must submit a written appeal to the Financial Assistance Committee.

Leave-of-absence policy

All leave-of-absence requests must be submitted in writing to the Curtis Institute of Music Registrar's Office for approval. A leave of absence cannot exceed 180 days within a twelve-month period and only one leave of absence will be granted during any twelve-month period. Students granted a medical leave of absence may have a longer period at the discretion of the dean and the registrar. The associate dean of student services and  financial assistance will contact the registrar's office directly to insure that the request was submitted and that the leave was properly authorized.

There will be no additional Curtis charges related to an approved leave of absence.

Curtis Institute of Music will not release Title IV loan proceeds to a student who has been granted a leave of absence. Curtis will return loan funds disbursed during a leave of absence to the lender and will request that the lender withhold any remaining disbursements.

If a student does not return to Curtis at the expiration of an approved leave of absence, the student's withdrawal date is the date that the student began the leave of absence.

Withdrawal policy

If a student withdraws from  Curtis Institute of Music before the end of the school year, a determination will be made as to the percentage of the enrollment period that was completed before the official withdrawal date. The calculation for this determination is as follows:
Total number of calendar days completed ÷ Total number of calendar days in the enrollment period
(For purposes of this calculation, "calendar days" refers to all days within the enrollment period, or school year, excluding scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days.)

Return of Title IV funds

If a student receiving U.S. Government Title IV funds withdraws from Curtis during the academic year, the formula stated above in "Withdrawal Policy" will be used to determine how much, if any, of the Title IV funds must be returned to the appropriate aid program, as determined by federal regulations.

Using the above calculation, if a student has completed at least 60 percent of the enrollment period at the time of withdrawal, then he or she is considered to have earned 100 percent of the U.S. Government Title IV funds for that enrollment period. No Title IV funds have been unearned, and no Title IV funds will need to be returned to those aid programs.

Using the above calculation, if a student has completed less than 60 percent of the enrollment period before withdrawal, then he or she is considered to have earned the percentage of Title IV funds for the period of time before withdrawal, and the remaining or unearned funds will be returned to the applicable aid programs.

A copy of the worksheet used to determine the amount of earned and unearned Title IV funds is available in the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Return of Title IV funds distribution policy

Federal regulations stipulate that Title IV HEA funds declared unearned, according to the policies outlined above, are to be returned to aid programs in the following specific order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
  2. Subsidized Federal DirectLoan
  3. Pell Grant
  4. Other federal, state, private, or institutional student financial assistance
  5. Refund to student

If a student withdraws and a refund is due to the student's lender, federal regulations require that those funds be returned by Curtis to the lender within thirty days of determining that the student withdrew. Written notice of the return of funds to the student's loan must be provided to the lender with documentation of that notice added to the student's file.

If the disbursed amount of Title IV HEA funds was less than the student earned, the student will be offered a post withdrawal disbursement. If a post withdrawal disbursement is accepted by the student, then the disbursement must be made within 120 days of the date that withdrawal was determined.

Verification policy

Students who are selected for federal verification will be required to submit a completed verification worksheet with supporting documentation to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Other applicants may be required to provide verification information.

The following information is required to complete the verification process:

  • Household size (number of persons in the household)
  • Number enrolled in post secondary education
  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
  • United States income tax paid for the base year
  • Certain untaxed income and benefits

The associate director of student financial assistance will ensure that all supporting documentation is received to verify that the information contained in the worksheet and the FAFSA is correct. The deadline for submitting the completed verification worksheet and all documentation is two weeks from the date it is requested by the Office of Student Financial Assistance. If corrections are warranted, corrections will be submitted directly to the federal processor on an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR).

The Office of Student Financial Assistance is allowed to process a loan application and promissory note if the institution believes that the information can be verified. However, verification must be completed within forty-five days after loan funds have been received by Curtis or the funds must be returned to the lender.

When warranted, the Office of Student Financial Assistance will make corrections and adjustments to the student's Pell grant and/or loan eligibility. Students will be notified in writing within two weeks if the verification process changes the amount of the Pell grant and/or loan. Documentation will also be placed in the student's financial aid file. The U.S. Department of Education will be notified in writing with appropriate documentation added to the student's financial aid file in the case of an over-award. Each student may request a copy of the verification policy at the time of the loan entrance interview.


In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), the Curtis Institute of Music (Curtis) establishes the following Title IV Code of Conduct as official policy:

Curtis will not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender. No lender will pay a fee or other benefits, including a share of the profits, to the school, its officers, employees, or agents, as a result of the school recommending the lender to its students or families of those students.

No employee of the Curtis financial aid office may receive a gift from any lender, guaranty agency or loan servicer. This ban applies to both federal and private educational loan programs. The law does permit some exceptions related to specific types of activities or literature.

No employee of the Curtis financial aid office may accept any fee, payment, or financial benefit as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or contract to provide services to or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.

Curtis will not steer borrowers to a particular lender. Curtis does not have a “preferred lender list.” Students and families are encouraged to investigate all possible lenders for private educational loans to secure the best terms and conditions for their situation.

Curtis prohibits all offers of funds for private loans. Curtis will not request or accept such offers in exchange for providing concessions or promises to the lender for a specific number of loans or inclusion on a preferred lender list.

Curtis will not accept staffing assistance from a lender, except in those specifically allowable exceptions permitted under the regulation for professional development, counseling material, financial literacy materials, or debt management materials to borrowers. This material must disclose to the borrower the identification of any lender who assisted in preparing or providing such materials.

Curtis bans advisory board compensation. Employees of the institution may not receive anything of value from a lender, guarantor, or group in exchange for serving in this capacity. They may, however, accept reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred while serving in this capacity.

If any employee, student, parent, or member of the public has any questions about this policy, they should contact the executive vice president of Curtis.