The U.S. Department of Education regulations require that the student be enrolled in an eligible degree-seeking or certificate-seeking program to receive federal financial aid (grants, loans,
the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), work-study compensation, etc.) known as the Course Program of Study (CPoS). To qualify for federal and state financial aid, the student must be enrolled in courses that are applicable toward the student’s degree or certificate.
If a student is enrolled in courses that are not required to complete his or her eligible degree or certificate, the student’s financial aid award could be prorated or cancelled as required by the U.S. Department of Education.
What is CPoS?
Course program of study (CPoS) refers to all courses needed to earn your degree: Major concentration, eligible minor general education, and elective courses within your declared major. If you haven't chosen a major yet and you are designated as Academic Focus Area-Gen Ed Core this is your program of study.
Only courses in your program of study count towards your enrollment status for federal financial aid (Pell, SEOG, Stafford Loans, and Federal Work Study) and state aid programs (Tennessee HOPE, Tennessee GAMS, Tennessee Aspire, Ned McWherter, and Tennessee Grant Program).
Once you enroll in enough credits in your program of study to have full-time student status, you will be eligible for maximum federal aid, and you can take additional courses whether or not they're in your program of study.
If enrolled in 12 CPoS credits in a term, you are eligible for a maximum Pell grant. You must be enrolled in at least 6 CPoS credits to qualify for federal loans.
- If you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and enroll in 12 hours and only 9 of the 12 hours are required for your officially declared program of study, the Federal Pell Grant will be reduced to a three-quarter time award based on 9 credit hours. However, you may be eligible to receive full-time institutional scholarships.
- Federal Direct Loans for undergraduate students require 6 hours of enrollment. If you are enrolled in 6 hours and only 3 of the 6 hours are required for your officially declared program of study, you are not eligible to receive a Federal Direct Loan.
- If you are eligible for TN state grants or scholarships and enroll in 12 hours and only 9 of the 12 hours are required for your officially declared program of study, the TN grants/scholarships will be reduced to a three-quarter time award based on 9 credit hours.
What type of financial aid does CPOS impact?
CPOS only applies to Federal and State of Tennessee Financial Aid (e.g., Pell Grant, SEOG , Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, HOPE Scholarships, TSAC Grants/Scholarships, etc.). It does NOT impact eligibility for institutional financial aid (e.g., Founders, Presidential, and Diehl Scholarships/Grants, Rhodes Grant, etc.).
Current students should contact their faculty advisor with any questions or for additional information.