Privacy & Security Information


Thank you for visiting FAFSA on the Web where our Return of Title IV Funds on the Web (R2T4 on the Web) is located and for reviewing our privacy policy. Our policy is simple: We collect no personal information about you unless the Financial Aid Administrator (FAA) at your school chooses to provide your personal information to us to determine the amount of Title IV funds that you have earned (or should have earned) for the period of time you were enrolled. We do not give, share, sell, or transfer any personal information to a third party except as permitted under the Privacy Act as a "routine use."

If you want to know more about how we record non-personal information about your visit or how we use information that your FAA voluntarily submits, read on.

Otherwise, enjoy your visit!

1. What is R2T4 on the Web?
Return of Title IV Funds on the Web (R2T4 on the Web) is a product of Federal Student Aid (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). R2T4 on the Web is used by FAAs to calculate the earned and unearned portions of Title IV student aid when a student withdraws from a postsecondary institution before completing the period for which the student was paid. An FAA may also use this Web site to track required notifications to the Title IV recipient and to track the recipient’s responses.

R2T4 on the Web is a Web-based system that allows participating institutions to perform required calculations and to track required notifications consistent with the federal regulations implementing Section 484B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (P.L. 105-244, enacted October 7, 1998) for the treatment of Title IV HEA program funds when a student withdraws from an institution.

FAAs utilize the functions of R2T4 on the Web through a Web site called FAA Access to CPS Online. This Web site enables FAAs to exchange financial aid information with ED for students who have released FAFSA data to a particular school, for the purpose of awarding financial aid or correcting information provided to obtain financial aid.

The statute requires that if a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds withdraws from an institution after beginning attendance, the school must determine the amount of Title IV HEA program assistance that is earned by the student. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, unearned funds have to be returned to the Title IV programs. If the amount the student was disbursed is less than the amount the student earned, the school must make available to the otherwise eligible recipient the amount of Title IV funds that could have been disbursed as a post-withdrawal disbursement.

ED simply stores and maintains the school-entered data in the R2T4 on the Web database in which schools calculate the return of Title IV funds and track the notification and response process.

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2. What information is being collected in R2T4 on the Web and how is it used?

FAAs who choose to use R2T4 on the Web must first register with ED and receive a personal identification number or PIN. Registrants must provide specific personal and school identifiers that are authenticated by ED before creating an R2T4 record for you or gaining access to your record later.

To create a record and calculate the types and amounts of Title IV aid that you and the school must return to Title IV programs, your FAA must provide data about you.

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A. Demographic and Withdrawal Information

The demographic information your FAA provides will enable him or her to create an R2T4 record for you and will identify your file among all the R2T4 records created by that particular school. This information includes your Social Security Number (which is required to create a record), your name, and your date of birth. Your withdrawal information determines the point at which you ceased attendance and is used to determine the percentage of the period you were enrolled. The amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned is based upon the percentage of time that you completed at your school. Your withdrawal information includes: the withdrawal date, the date the institution determined you withdrew (as reported by the institution), and a description of the type of withdrawal.

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B. Program of Study Information

Your FAA must add information about your school and the educational program in which you were enrolled before withdrawing, to identify your school’s program type in order to perform the correct R2T4 calculation. This information includes your federal school code, award year, grade level, program type (i.e., credit hour or clock hour), program title, and whether an outside entity requires your school to take attendance.

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C. Payment Period or Period of Enrollment Information

The R2T4 calculation is based on the amount of time you completed divided by the total amount of time that was scheduled to be in your payment period or period of enrollment. Schools that measure student enrollment in standard term-based periods (semesters, trimesters, or quarters) must perform the calculation of earned vs. unearned Title IV aid on the basis of a payment period. Schools who measure student enrollment in non-term-based or nonstandard term periods may choose to use either a payment period or period of enrollment for all students in that program. Institutions must consistently use either a payment period or period of enrollment for calculating R2T4 on the Web. The following information is collected by your FAA: school calendar code (which maintains the term start and end dates and institutionally scheduled breaks of 5 or more consecutive days), net number of days in the payment period or period of enrollment, the number of days of an approved leave of absence (if you took one), the clock hours scheduled in the program, the clock hours you completed, whether the R2T4 calculation is based upon a payment period or period of enrollment, and the total number of clock hours or number of days in the payment period or period of enrollment.

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D. Institutional Charges Information

Institutional charges (a charge for tuition and fees, room and board (if charged by the institution), and other educationally-related costs) are the original amounts the school charged you to attend. Your FAA will enter a description and the amount of each institutional charge, the total institutional charges for your program, and the amount of outstanding charges if you are eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement.

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E. Financial Aid Received

Your FAA will enter the types and amounts of Title IV aid that were disbursed (paid toward your institutional charges or to you after all your charges were paid) and the types and amounts that “could have been disbursed” (not yet paid out). The percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment that you attended is multiplied by the total financial aid that was disbursed or could have been disbursed to determine the amount that you are able to retain and the amount that you must return to the Title IV programs. If the amount of Title IV funds that were earned is less than the amount that was disbursed, and you are an otherwise eligible Title IV aid recipient who meets the conditions for a late disbursement, the school must offer you the difference as a post-withdrawal disbursement.

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F. The R2T4 Calculation

From the information your FAA provides, R2T4 on the Web will calculate the types and amounts of Title IV aid that must be returned to each program by you and your school and the types and amounts of aid that you earned. FAAs can retrieve your information and the dates of their notifications and your responses from R2T4 on the Web by generating reports contained within the Web product.

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G. Dates Notices Sent and Your Response Dates

R2T4 on the Web maintains the dates your FAA provides to track required school notifications to you and your responses to those notifications. Your FAA can enter dates for the following notifications: the date you provided the school with written authorization to credit Title IV aid to your account, the date your school notified you of the amounts and types of Title IV funds that must be returned, the date you responded and your response, post-withdrawal disbursement information (i.e., the dates notices were sent informing you that a credit was applied and/or that a disbursement was available and the dates of your responses, the amount and the date you accepted a post-withdrawal disbursement, and the date the post-withdrawal disbursement was completed). The software also retains the date the return of Title IV funds procedure was completed.

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H. School Defined Information

Your FAA may add other information to your record for school use. Some examples include but are not limited to: grade point average, major in college, overpayment status, withdrawal reason, leave of absence reason, and contemporaneous notes regarding your withdrawal process. While the data elements indicated above meet the definition of an “educational record” and are therefore protected by the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act (FERPA), these data are being disclosed to the Department in connection with the Title IV, HEA financial aid that you have received and can be shared with the Department without your prior consent as provided in 34 CFR 99.31(a)(3). These data are necessary for the determination of compliance and consistent with §484B of the HEA, as amended.

If your FAA creates or modifies a student’s record, the student record will be identified with the personal FAA information he or she entered when the Web site was accessed. This information includes the FAA’s Social Security Number (the first 5 digits will not be viewable) and your Federal School Code.

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I. Non-Personal Information We Record (Use of Cookies)

No cookies or other tracking technology are used on the Web site. If your FAA does nothing during his or her visit but browse through the Web site, read pages, or download information, our Web site’s operating system will automatically record some general information about his or her visit.

During your FAA’s visit, our Web operating system will record:

  • The Internet domain for the FAA’s Internet service, such as “” or “” if he or she uses a private Internet access account, or “” if he or she connects from a college or university domain.
  • The type of browser (such as “Internet Explorer version x”) that he or she is using.
  • The type of operating system that he or she uses (such as Macintosh, Unix, or Windows).
  • The date and time your FAA visited our site, and the Web pages that he or she visits on our site.
  • The address of the previous Web site your FAA was visiting, if he or she linked to us from another Web site.

The user is not identified in the collection of non-personal information. The user is identified in the collection of personal information.

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J. Links to Other Sites

Our policy discloses the privacy practices for R2T4 on the Web. R2T4 on the Web does not provide links to any non-Department of Education Web sites.

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3. FSA Authority for the Collection of SSN and Other Privacy Protected Information for R2T4 on the Web:

Pursuant to Executive Order 9397, November 23, 1943, the Department has specific authority for SSN collection to identify users of the system.

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4. Rights Under the Privacy Act or Other Applicable Law

A system of record has been created under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a. It was published in the Federal Register at 69 Fed. Reg. 44521 (July 26, 2004).

The Department of Education may disclose information contained in a record in an individual’s account under the routine uses listed in the Privacy Act System of Records notice without the consent of the individual if the disclosure is compatible with the purposes for which the record was collected. Specific disclosures include the following:

  • To the postsecondary institution that input the information into the R2T4 system
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advice Disclosure
  • Disclosure to the Department Of Justice
  • Contract Disclosure
  • Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Disclosures
  • Research Disclosure
  • Congressional Member Disclosure
  • Disclosure for Use By Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Enforcement Disclosure
  • Employment, Benefit, and Contracting Disclosure
  • Employee Grievance, Complaint or Conduct Disclosure
  • Labor Organization Disclosure

These disclosures may be made on a case-by-case basis. If the Department has complied with the computer matching requirements of the Privacy Act, disclosure also may be made to another agency under a computer matching agreement.

There will be no sharing of information for purposes outside of the above disclosure requirements or for anything other than the primary purpose(s) of collecting the information. Any contractor responsible for the operations of this Web site is held to the privacy and security requirements of the Department of Education in the handling of information collected through the Web site.

A link to the Privacy Act Statement is provided on the home page of the Web site.

As the subject of an account in your name, the Privacy Act affords you the ability to access your account and the right to request the amendment of inaccurate information in your record. You may request the information in your account from the FAA at the school from which you withdrew. A full explanation of your rights under the Privacy Act is set forth in the Department’s Privacy Act regulations.

Each record in this system is indexed and retrieved only by an FAA of the school from which the student withdrew by a student’s Social Security Number or last name. Student records are created and accessed only by an FAA of the school from which the student withdrew. Accordingly, we maintain the information FAAs provide in a system of records protected by the Privacy Act and administer it in accordance with the Act and with the Privacy Act systems of record notice published at 69 Fed. Reg. 44521 (July 26, 2004). []. The Department of Education, through R2T4 on the Web, is authorized to collect and use the information your FAA provides under the following authorities:

The information maintained in the R2T4 on the Web system is authorized under §484B of the HEA. Under §484B of the HEA (20 U.S.C. §1091b), if a recipient of Title IV grant or loan assistance withdraws from an institution during a payment period or period of enrollment in which the student began attendance, a participating institution must determine the amount of grant and loan assistance to be returned to the Title IV programs.

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5. Voluntary Collection of SSN and other Privacy Protected Information

Providing the information in any case is voluntary on your FAA’s part. However, if he or she chooses not to use R2T4 on the Web, your FAA will still be required to calculate the return of Title IV funds consistent with the Higher Education Act and its implementing regulations.

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6. What if My FAA Chooses Not to Use R2T4 On the Web?

Using R2T4 on the Web is not required, but we encourage FAAs to make use of this free Web product. The Department endorses R2T4 on the Web as it effectuates the provisions of 20 U.S.C. 1091b, as implemented in 34 CFR 668.22, for the determination of the earned and unearned amounts of Title IV, HEA program funds when a student ceases to be enrolled from an institution prior to the planned completion date. While FAAs may use other software products to calculate the return of Title IV funds, he or she is still required to comply with the HEA and its implementing regulations in their entirety.

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7. Security

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the completion of a system security plan in Circular A-130, “Management of Federal Information Resources,” Appendix III, “Security of Federal Automated Information Resources,” and Public Law 100-235, “Computer Security Act of 1987.” The Web site’s system security plan demonstrating its compliance with the IT requirements mandated by federal law and policy was added to ED’s Central Processing System (CPS) security plan when the Web product was released. The security plan contains details regarding the Risk Assessment conducted for the Web site, as well as the security controls (hardware/software/facilities/personnel) in place to mitigate any identified risks to the information collected on the Web site. Management, operational, and technical security controls are in place for the Web site, encompassing personnel, physical environment access, contingency plans, disaster recovery, and identification and authentication procedures. The Web site is currently in the operations/maintenance phase of the life cycle. As such, the following functions are being performed: security operations and administration, operational assurance, audits and monitoring. The System Security Officer (SSO) for the Web site is Valerie Hough (Management and Program Analyst) (202) 377-3166.

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Section 208 of the E-Government Act of 2002 (P.L.107-347) requires FSA to complete a Privacy Impact Assessment for each new system that collects information from the public through the Internet.

During the Definition Phase of the FSA Solution Lifecycle, the System Security Officer must make sure that the team completes the attached Privacy Impact Assessment Questionnaire, must have it reviewed by the Chief Information Officer or equivalent official, and must file the completed form in the system’s Security Notebook as part of the system’s documentation. This Privacy Impact Assessment must also be made publicly available.

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Privacy Impact Assessment Questionnaire

System Name: Return To Title IV Funds on the Web (R2T4 on the Web)
System Owner: William Leith
Privacy Impact Assessment Questionnaire Author: Marya Dennis
Date: September 12, 2004

Officials and organizational components involved in the analysis and review of the Privacy Impact Assessment included the following: Department of Education (ED) Federal Student Aid (FSA), Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), specifically William Leidinger, John Tressler, and Chiquitta Thomas; FSA CIO, the System Security Officer (SSO) for R2T4 on the Web, and the Office of General Counsel (OGC).

1. What information will be collected for the system?

  • Demographic and Withdrawal Information:
  • See 2. A. above.
  • Program of Study Information:
  • See 2. B. above.
  • Payment Period or Period of Enrollment Information:
  • See 2. C. above.
  • Institutional Charges Information:
  • See 2. D. above.
  • Financial Aid Received:
  • See 2. E. above.
  • The R2T4 Calculation:
  • See 2. F. above.
  • Dates Notices Sent and Your Response Dates:
  • See 2. G. above.
  • School Defined Information:
  • See 2. H. above.
  • Use of Cookies:
  • See 2. I. above.

2. Why is this information being collected?
The information collected is necessary for an FAA to calculate the return of Title IV funds when a student withdraws from a postsecondary institution before completing the period for which the student was paid. R2T4 on the Web is provided and maintained by the U.S. Department of Education.

3. How will FSA use this information?
Records in this system will be created and used by an FAA of the school from which the student withdrew. FSA will store and maintain the database. Only under specific circumstances will the information collected in this system of records be used by FSA. See 4. above for more information.

4. Will this information be shared with any other agency or entity? If so, with which agency or agencies/entities?
See 4. above.

5. Describe the notice or opportunities for consent that would be or are provided to individuals about what information is collected and how that information is shared with other organizations.

As the Web site is a government agency Web site that FAAs of schools access, the Privacy Policy is appropriately posted for Web site users. This is a general policy, which applies to the handling of any information collected at the site. The policy highlights the voluntary nature of information collected, and explains which data elements are necessary for functionality. Users are notified that providing the information constitutes consent to all of its uses and they are given no option to affirmatively consent to certain limited uses. In addition, the policy notifies customers about the automatic recording and potential uses of any non-personal information about a visit (i.e., site management data).

A Privacy Act Statement is incorporated into the FSA Web Privacy Policy articulating the specific authority for collecting personal information that will be maintained and retrieved by name or identifier from a Privacy Act system of records, the mandatory or voluntary nature of the information collected and the uses of the information. A link to the Privacy Act Statement is provided on the FAFSA on the Web home page.

6. How will the information be secured?
See 7. above.

7. Is a system of records being created or updated with the collection of this information?
Yes, a system of records has been created with this collection of information. Users are provided notice of rights under the Privacy Act via links to the agency Privacy Act regulations (5 C.F.R. Part 5b.) and to the Privacy Act system of records notice for the Web site (69 Fed. Reg. 44521 (July 26, 2004)).

8. List the Web addresses (known or planned) that will have a Privacy Policy
Students will find the link to the R2T4 on the Web Privacy Policy under the Privacy Policy Link on the Web site.

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