dept of ed sealThe U.S. Department of Education requires students to be enrolled in an eligible program of study in order to receive federal financial aid. Furthermore, a student's official enrollment classification can only include courses that are required in their degree program.

Starting with the Fall 2021 semester, UAH implemented a process called Course Program of Study (CPoS) to ensure compliance with these regulations.


CPoS Dates for the Spring 2024 Semester

December 22, 2021ovember 11 November 14, 2023 Initial CPoS audits
January 19, 2022naJa January 17, 2024

Final CPoS audits

  • The student registered for a course that is not required for their degree.
  • The course is a substitution but the official substitution process has not yet been completed in DegreeWorks/CAPP for that student.
  • A course is not required in the program of study for that student’s catalog year.
  • The course was previously repeated and no longer qualifies for aid.
    • If a student has previously completed the same course on two prior occasions and at least one of those attempts resulted in a passing grade, that course cannot be used in the determination of the student's enrollment classification for federal financial aid.
  • The course is an elective and the student already fulfilled all elective requirements.
    • Electives are correctly calculated in DegreeWorks and CAPP. If electives are fulfilled and a substitution has not been approved, the course will not be included in the student's enrollment classification.
  • A course is required for the student's degree but the student is currently on a wait list for registration.

You may only receive federal financial aid for coursework that counts towards your declared program of study.  As of now, non-federal aid (such as scholarships) are not subject to the same federal regulatory restrictions. However, your Cost of Attendance will be based on courses that apply to your declared program of study.  Since your total aid (from both federal and non-federal sources) cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance, this could result in a reduction of your total financial aid offer.  Dropping courses or not participating in registered courses can also negatively impact your eligibility for current or future aid. Students should not enroll in courses they do not plan to complete simply to increase their enrollment classification.

Financial aid offers are initially awarded based on full time enrollment for both undergraduate students and graduate students.

 Enrollment Status Types (per semester) 


 (Fall, Spring & Summer) 


 (Fall & Spring) 



 Full time




 Three-quarter time

9 - 11.5

6.5 - 8.5

4.5 - 5.5

 Half time

6 - 8.5

4.5 - 6

3 - 4

 Less than half time

.5 - 5.5

.5 - 4

.5 - 2.5


If your financial aid is reduced due to your enrollment classification, you should first review your program requirements in DegreeWorks to identify your additional outstanding degree requirements. You may be able to adjust your schedule so that it includes courses that are required for your degree plan. You may also contact your academic advisor to discuss your academic options. 


  • If you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and enroll in 12 credit hours but only 9 of the 12 credit hours are required for your declared program of study, the Pell Grant will be reduced to a three-quarter time award based on the 9 countable credit hours. You may still be eligible to receive full-time scholarship funds, as long as your total aid does not exceed your Cost of Attendance.
  • Federal student loans for undergraduate students require 6 eligible credit hours of enrollment. If you are enrolled in 6 credit hours and only 3 credit hours are required for your program of study, you are not eligible for federal student loans. Graduate students must enroll in at least 4.5 eligible credit hours in fall and spring and 3 eligible credit hours in summer in order to receive federal student loans.


What is a program of study (as defined for financial aid purposes)?

A program of study consists of courses required to complete a degree, inclusive of required coursework within the major, concentration, required minor, and catalog. The specific courses for a student are identified through DegreeWorks or CAPP at UAH.   

What if i have not declared a major?

If you are a freshman or sophomore and have not yet declared a major, your classes may be eligible for federal aid.  If you are a junior, senior, or second bachelor's student and this is not your first semester at UAH, a hold will be placed on your federal aid until you have declared a major.   This must be completed prior to the census date in order to receive federal aid for that semester.

What types of Aid are affected by CPOS?

Disbursement of Federal Aid (i.e., Pell Grant, SEOG, Federal Work-Study, and Direct Loans) is based on coursework that counts toward the program of study. All financial aid is subject to a student's Cost of Attendance limits.

How does CPOS impact Cost of Attendance (COA)?

Cost of Attendance is an estimate of the costs for students to attend school for a specific amount of time (semester or year) and is based on the student’s enrollment classification. Enrollment classification for federal financial aid is based on coursework that applies toward the officially declared program of study. If you are an undergraduate student enrolled in 12 credit hours that count towards your program of study, you will be considered a full-time student for Cost of Attendance purposes. However, if only 9 of the 12 credit hours are required for your officially declared program of study, the tuition and book components of your COA will be reduced to a three-quarter time amount.

HOW and when will the process be run to identify courses not in the program of study?

DegreeWorks and/or CAPP will be used to determine if a course is part of the program of study. A process will run prior to the start of the semester to identify students who are impacted by these evaluations.  Students enrolled in ineligible coursework will be notified via their UAH email. The process re-evaluates students' registration each week night until the Financial Aid Census Date.  CPoS audits for students whose initial enrollment for the semester takes place after the Financial Aid Census Date will be handled on a case by case basis.

What about courses that will be substituted and thus become part of a student’s program of study?

An academic advisor must approve and process a course substitution (exception) through the Registrar's Office by the end of the relevant semester's drop/add period for it to be included as countable coursework for federal financial aid.

How will courses needed for The completion of minors be treated?

Minors must be required for the degree or fulfill an elective in order to be included as eligible coursework for federal financial aid.

How will courses needed for double majors be treated?

Double majors must be officially declared and reflected in the degree evaluation by the end of the relevant semester's drop/add period to be included as countable coursework for federal financial aid. 

How will elective courses noted in A program of study be treated?

If a program of study has specific courses that can count as electives, only those courses will be counted. If there is no specified list, any course will count as long as open elective hours exist in the program of study.

What about internships, honors courses and prerequisite coursework?

These courses are only counted in a student's enrollment classification for federal financial aid if they are required in the student’s program of study or can fulfill a slot in a quota of elective hours specified in the program of study.

Can I change my program of study to receive federal financial aid for a course that does not apply toward my current program of study?

If you need to take courses that are not in your program of study, it is likely that you are not in the program that best fits your educational goal. You may want to meet with an academic advisor to ensure you are in the correct program of study. Changing your program of study requires approval from an academic advisor and should be done with great caution because it may impact your eligibility for future semesters. For example, changing from one program to another may cause you to surpass the maximum time-frame permitted for the completion of degree as defined in the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy

What about graduating seniors in their last semester?

Only courses that are part of your program of study, as documented in DegreeWorks and/or CAPP, are used to calculate your federal aid offers. For example, if you only need 3 credit hours to graduate but you choose to register for 6 credit hours to qualify for a Federal Direct Loan, you will not be eligible for the Direct Loan. Although your federal aid does not include coursework that isn't required, you may still qualify for other types of aid based on your total enrollment (i.e. private loans).

How will this affect study abroad?

Study abroad courses may count for federal financial aid if they apply towards outstanding coursework in your officially declared program of study.

How are scholarships affected?

Scholarships do not currently require your courses to count in your officially declared program of study. However, your Cost of Attendance may be reduced if one or more courses are not required in your program of study. A reduced COA may lower the amount of aid a student is eligible to receive. 

What if a course doesn’t count toward CPOS but I think it should?

Email or make an appointment with your academic advisor if you need to make adjustments to your officially declared program.  

I’m enrolled in 12 undergraduate hours, but 4 of those hours don’t count towards my officially declared program of study. How does that affect my financial aid?

Federal Financial aid will be disbursed based on the 8 credit hours that apply towards your officially declared program of study. The Federal Pell Grant award will be reduced from a full-time enrollment award to a half-time enrollment award. You may be eligible to receive Federal Loans because you are enrolled at least half-time in countable coursework (see Enrollment Status Chart above). As applicable, your institutional aid will be based on full-time enrollment. However, because your Cost of Attendance (COA) for federal aid will be reduced to half-time, your total aid may also be reduced if it exceeds your COA.

I want federal student loans but only 4 out of my 9 enrolled credit hours apply towards outstanding requirements in my officially declared program of study. Can I still get my loans?

No. To receive a federal student loan you must be enrolled at least half-time in credit hours that apply toward your officially declared program of study. 

For the upcoming semester, I plan to enroll in 17 hours, which includes a 3 credit hour class that doesn’t apply toward outstanding requirements in my officially declared program of study. Will financial aid pay for that 3 hour class?

If at least 12 of your credits apply towards outstanding requirements in your officially declared program of study, you are still considered a full-time student for federal financial aid purposes. If eligible, you may receive a full-time Federal Pell Grant and Federal Student Loans. Financial aid will pay towards any academic-related charges, including charges for the additional class. However, the financial aid you receive may not be enough to cover all tuition and fee costs, leaving you responsible for paying the remaining balance.

Some of the classes in which I’m enrolled do not apply toward my program of study. What do I do next?

Your federal aid offer is based on coursework that applies toward outstanding requirements in your program of study. Therefore, your federal aid may be reduced. You have two options:

  1. Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your academic options. If the semester has not started, it may be in your best interest to drop the ineligible course(s) and enroll only in courses required for your officially declared program. 

  1. If the semester has already begun and your financial aid does not cover all of your tuition and fee costs, you will be responsible for the outstanding balance owed. In some instances your financial aid, although it has been reduced, is still enough to pay towards course(s) that are not in your program. If not, the additional courses can be paid for out of pocket or with a private loan. 
None of my courses apply toward requirements in my officially declared program of study but I still want to take them. What does that mean?

You are not eligible for federal financial aid. If applicable, you may use your scholarship(s) toward your balance owed. UAH offers a Payment Plan through the Bursar’s Office to help ease the burden of paying for college. You may also look into a private education loan to help with the balance due.