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Course Program of Study

Office of Financial Aid

FAQ

Course Program of Study (CPOS) FAQ

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  1. What is a course program of study?Answer
  2. I don't know what I want to major in yet. Can I qualify for federal financial aid?Answer
  3. What types of financial aid are affected by CPOS rules?Answer
  4. What does federal financial aid include?Answer
  5. Who do CPOS rules apply to?Answer
  6. What is my enrollment status?Answer
  7. How can I see the courses in my program of study?Answer
  8. Now that I've registered for courses, how can I tell which ones are in my program of study?Answer
  9. Can I take courses not required for my degree and still receive federal financial aid?Answer
  10. Do I have to go to school full-time to receive federal financial aid?Answer
  11. Do courses I take to complete a minor count in my program of study?Answer
  12. Do courses needed for double majors count in my program of study?Answer
  13. If I change majors (or minors), will courses I take in my new major (or minor) count in my program of study?Answer
  14. I don't know what I want to major in yet. Can I qualify for  federal financial aid?Answer
  15. If I drop a course in my program of study, will my federal aid go down? Will I have to repay money I received?Answer
  16. How do CPOS rules affect scholarships?Answer
  17. Do substituted courses count in my program of study?Answer
  18. How do elective courses count in my program of study?Answer
  19. Do repeated courses count in my program of study?Answer
  20. Are courses taken to earn certificates eligible for federal financial aid?Answer
  21. How do CPOS rules affect graduate and professional students?Answer
  22. Can I appeal a decision that a course isn't in my program of study?Answer

What is a course program of study?

A program of study is all the courses needed to earn a particular degree, such as a BS in psychology or an MS in biology.  If you are an undergraduate student, your program of study includes courses in general education, in your major or academic focus area, and in a concentration and minor (if applicable), plus any elective courses you get to choose.  Gainful employment graduate certificates are also considered programs of study. Degree Works lists all the requirements in your program of study.


I don't know what I want to major in yet. Can I qualify for federal financial aid?

Yes.  To be aid-eligible you should choose “undeclared” when filling out the undergraduate application.  Degree Works will then say you are enrolled in Academic Focus Area-General Education, an official program of study for students who are exploring possible majors.  The University Advisement Center advises these students.  You must declare a major by the time you earn 60 credits.  If you have 60 or more credits and haven't declared a major, you won't be eligible for federal aid until you do.


What types of financial aid are affected by CPOS rules?

CPOS only applies to federal financial aid.  It doesn’t affect eligibility for state of Tennessee aid, such as HOPE lottery scholarships and TSAC awards or ETSU scholarships.


What does federal financial aid include?

Federal financial aid includes Pell grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants (FSEOG), federal direct student loans and Plus loans, and federal work study.


Who do CPOS rules apply to?

CPOS rules apply to any undergraduate or graduate student who is receiving federal financial aid.


What is my enrollment status?

Your enrollment status refers to whether you’re going to college full-time or less than that.  The federal government considers undergraduates to be full-time if they're taking at least 12 credits in their programs of study in the fall and spring terms.  Graduates are full-time if they're taking at least 9 credits in their programs of study.


How can I see the courses in my program of study?

View your degree audit in Degree Works and talk with your academic advisor


Now that I've registered for courses, how can I tell which ones are in my program of study?

Log into GoldLink and choose the Student tab, then Registration tools, then Concise Student Schedule in the Schedule panel.  Information about whether your courses are in the program of study will appear within 24 hours of registration.  (In Review=awaiting results of CPOS evaluation; Yes=course required in program of study; No=course not in program of study).


Can I take courses not required for my degree and still receive federal financial aid?

Yes.  If you are an undergraduate student, as long as you take 12 credits in your program of study, you will receive all the federal aid for which you're eligible, and you can enroll in additional courses you'd like to take without affecting your aid.  If you are a graduate student, if you take at least 5 credits in your program of study, you will be eligible for federal student loans and can take additional courses without affecting your aid.


Do I have to go to school full-time to receive federal financial aid?

No.  You can qualify for all federal aid programs if you are enrolled at least half-time.  The amount of Pell grants depends on whether you are half-time, three-quarter time or full-time.


Do courses I take to complete a minor count in my program of study?

Yes, but only if your advisor officially records your minor at least one working day before the enrollment census of the term in which you'll take courses in it.  If you take courses for a minor before you declare it, they may not count in your program of study.


Do courses needed for double majors count in my program of study?

Yes, but only if your advisor officially records both majors at least one working day before the enrollment census of the term in which you'll take courses in it.  If you take courses in a subject that isn’t your major, then decide to declare a second major in that subject, the courses you took before you declared the second major may not count in your program of study.


If I change majors (or minors), will courses I take in my new major (or minor) count in my program of study?

Yes, but only if your advisor submits the major or minor change no later than the 8th day of the term in which you'll start taking courses in it.  In rare cases changes submitted after the deadline and before the 14th-day census may be approved for the current term as exceptions.


I don't know what I want to major in yet. Can I qualify for  federal financial aid?

Yes.  To be aid-eligible you should choose “undeclared” when filling out the undergraduate application.  Degree Works will then say you are enrolled in Academic Focus Area-General Education, an official program of study for students who are deciding what to major in.  The University Advisement Center advises these students.  ETSU students must declare a major by the time they earn 60 credits.  If you have 60 or more credits and haven't declared a major, you won't be eligible for federal aid until you do.


If I drop a course in my program of study, will my federal aid go down? Will I have to repay money I received?

It depends; you should always check with your academic advisor or financial aid counselor before dropping a course.  The CPOS rule is that if you've enrolled in 12 or fewer credits in your program of study, then drop one of those courses and don’t add another course in your program before the enrollment census, your federal aid will go down.  Dropping a course in your program of study after the enrollment census generally won't affect your federal aid, with two exceptions: If you drop a late-start course before it begins or you drop all your courses.  These actions will affect your aid.


How do CPOS rules affect scholarships?

Scholarships do not require you to take a minimum number of credits in your program of study.  However, some ETSU scholarships require you to take at least 12 or 15 credits in a term, whether or not they're in your program of study.


Do substituted courses count in my program of study?

For a course substitution to apply to a course that will be taken at ETSU in a given term, an advisor must submit the substitution for processing no later than the 8th day of that term.  Substitutions recorded after this date will apply toward degree requirements, but won't contribute to a student’s CPOS eligibility.  In rare cases substitutions submitted after the deadline and before the 14th-day census may be approved for the current term as exceptions.


How do elective courses count in my program of study?

Sometimes a program of study requires guided electives—a list of courses from which you may choose those you want to take.  Sometime it includes free electives, and you may take any course you wish.  If your program of study includes guided electives, only selections from that list count toward your program of study unless your advisor approves a course substitution.  If it includes free electives, any course you take to meet the requirement will count.


Do repeated courses count in my program of study?
If you previously passed a course in your program of study and want to repeat it to earn a higher grade, you may do so once and the repeated course will count in the program of study.  This rule applies even if you are required to earn a minimum grade in a course (say, a C) and you previously earned a lower, but passing, grade (a C-).  If you didn’t pass a course, you may repeat it until you do, and each repetition will count in your program of study.  Other rules about repeated courses may also apply.

Are courses taken to earn certificates eligible for federal financial aid?

Courses taken to earn teacher certifications are eligible for federal aid if certain conditions are met.  Certificates that are gainful employment-eligible are also eligible.  If you take courses to earn other kinds of certificates, they will count in your program of study only if they are required in your major or minor.


How do CPOS rules affect graduate and professional students?

As a graduate or professional student you must be enrolled in 5 credits in your program of study to be eligible for federal direct student loans.  You can take other courses not in your program of study in addition to these 5 credits.


Can I appeal a decision that a course isn't in my program of study?

There is no appeal process to request that a course not in your program of study be allowed to count in it.  


 

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