The refund policy is reasonable and proper for refunding unused portions of tuition, fees, housing or residential hall charges in the event a student withdraws from or fails to begin a course or program of study.  The refund policy is described in clear, concise language in the institutional catalog, student handbook, enrollment agreement, and website.


The following criteria are used by professional staff members and evaluation committees as indicators of compliance for the standard.

  1. Schools which are nationally and/or regionally accredited by a US-based accrediting association recognized by the United States Secretary of Education may use their own refund policy.
    • The institution specific refund policy must be submitted annually to NPEC.
    • NPEC reserves the right to require any school to adopt the NPEC policy if sufficient student complaints occur relative to an existing accredited school’s refund policy and the NPEC policy is more lenient toward the student.
  2. If (A) above does not apply to your institution, you are required to adhere to the following guidelines.
    • The institution specific refund policy must be submitted annually to NPEC.
    • The institution ensures that all monies paid by a prospective student, including nonrefundable application fees, are refunded if:
      • the student requests a refund within three (3) business days after signing a contract;
    • OR
    • no contract is signed and prior to classes beginning the student requests a refund within three (3) business days after making a payment.
  3. The institution ensures that deposits or down payments are credited as tuition payments unless clearly identified on receipt by the institution as application or other fees.
  4. The institution that charges an application fee ensures that:
    • the amount ($100 maximum) is stated in the catalog;
    • it is charged only once;
      • unless the applicant has completed one program of study and is applying to enter an unrelated program;
      • the applicant previously withdrew from the institution;
    • if it is non-refundable, the fee is clearly identified as such in the catalog;
    • if a student withdraws from the institution for any reason, the student is not liable for any unpaid portion of the application fee.
  5. The institution that charges for fees, books and supplies which are in addition to tuition:
    • identifies in the catalog the specific purposes for the charges;
    • refunds any unused portion of the fees if a student withdraws before completing fifty (50) percent of the period of enrollment except for:
      • items that were special ordered for a particular student and cannot be used  or sold to another student;
      • items that were returned in a condition that prevents them from being used by or sold to new students;
      • non-refundable fees for goods and/or services provided by third-party vendors.
  6. The institution adopts a policy that ensures that only one of the following criteria is used to calculate refunds:
    • the date on which the student has begun the official withdrawal process as prescribed by the institution;
    • the last date of attendance by the student;
    • the last date of academically significant interaction for asynchronous programs of study.
  7. The institution will assess no administrative and/or withdrawal fee of a student who withdraws from the institution.
  8. The institution ensures that:
    • refunds are based on tuition paid for segments of the instructional program as described by the institution in the enrollment agreement, i.e., quarter, semester, module, or term, in no case more than twelve (12) months;
    • if the institution’s refund policy is more favorable to the student than NPEC’s, it will refund the student the greater amount;
    • refunds are made in full to the student within forty-five (45) days of the date of withdrawal;
    • refunds are determined based on the proration of tuition and percentage of program completed at withdrawal, up until 50% of the program;
    • if a student withdraws after completing 50% of the program, no refund of tuition is required;
    • this policy only applies to full withdrawals, and it is up to the institution to determine policies for refunds for partial (course) withdrawals.
  9. The institution has adopted a policy:
    • for addressing extenuating circumstances such as student injury, prolonged illness or death, or other circumstances which prohibit completion of the course or program of study;
    • that establishes a process for determining a settlement which is reasonable and fair to the student and the institution.
  10. The institution that cancels or changes a program of study or course (time or location) in such a way that a student who has started the program or course is unable to continue:
    • makes arrangements in a timely manner to accommodate the needs of each student enrolled in the program;
    • OR
    • refunds all money paid by the student for the program of study or course if alternative arrangements determined by NPEC to be equitable to both the institution and the student are not possible.