Frequently Asked Questions
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, minor and catalog. The specific courses for a student are identified through a degree evaluation tool (DegreeWorks).
What types of Aid are affected by CPoS?
Disbursement of federal aid (Ex: Pell Grant, SEOG, Teach Grant, Work Study, Direct Loans, etc.), state aid (Ex. TN State Grant and Lottery Scholarships), and MTSU Guaranteed Scholarships are based on eligible coursework. Other State programs, Honor Scholarships, and Foundation/Department Scholarships are not subject to the same regulatory restrictions. However, because your COA will be reduced for ineligible coursework, these sources of aid may be reduced given that your total aid cannot exceed your COA.
How does CPoS impact Cost of Attendance (COA)?
Cost of Attendance is an estimate of the cost for students to go to school for a specific amount of time (semester or year) and is based on the student’s enrollment status. Enrollment status for financial aid is based on outstanding coursework that applies toward the officially declared program of study. If you are an undergraduate student enrolled in 12 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 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 and the total amount of aid you can receive will also be reduced.
How can I determine if a course will count towards financial aid eligibility?
After you register or drop/add courses, you can identify whether your coursework is eligible / ineligible for aid purposes within the Financial Aid Section on PipelineMT. Click on the CPoS icon and once on the webpage, the far right column will indicate if a course counts for financial aid. If the course is “Pending” then it has not been evaluated yet for eligibility and should be evaluated within 24-48 hours. You are also able to see how many total credit hours you are enrolled, how many credit hours are eligible for aid, your catalog year, major(s), and minor(s). Important information is included on the webpage that will explain more about how your aid may be impacted by your coursework.
What about courses that will be substituted and thus become part of a student’s program of study?
The Academic Advisor should approve and process a course substitution by the census date (14th calendar day of a full term fall or spring semester) for it to be included as eligible coursework for financial aid.
How will courses needed for completion of minors be treated?
Required minors must be officially declared and reflected in the degree evaluation by the census date (14th calendar day of a full term fall or spring semester) to be included as eligible coursework for financial aid. Students may add minors not required for their degree but courses towards these minors will not count towards aid eligibility unless the course meets a degree requirement such as a required general elective to meet 120 hours, a General Education / True Blue Core requirement, etc.
How will courses needed for double majors be treated?
Double majors must be officially declared and reflected in the degree evaluation by the census date (14th calendar day of a full term fall or spring semester) to be included as eligible coursework for financial aid.
How will elective courses noted in program of study be treated?
If a program of study has specific courses that can count as electives, then only those will be eligible unless an adjustment is made by the academic advisor. If there is no specified list, then any course will count as long as open elective hours exist in the program of study.
What about capstone courses, internships, honors courses, and prerequisite coursework?
These courses count for financial aid only if they are required in the student’s program of study. However, if a student is enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program of study and is required to take a prerequisite course prior to enrolling in a required course for the program, the prerequisite may be included in the COA and aid determination. No more than a maximum of 30 attempted hours inclusive of remedial / developmental and prerequisite coursework from MTSU (undergraduate and graduate combined) can count for financial aid purposes.
The Financial Aid Office will determine whether the prerequisite course counts as eligible coursework for financial aid purposes.
- Typically, except for student loans, aid that is disbursed by the census date (14thcalendar day of a full term fall or spring semester) is based on your program of study as of the census date.
- For Federal Direct Loan purposes, your eligibility is based on your program of study as of the date of disbursement.
- Aid disbursed after the census date (14thcalendar day of a full term fall or spring semester) is based on your program of study as of the date of disbursement.
- If you change your program of study beyond the census date and the current semester coursework no longer applies toward your new program of study, your previously disbursed aid will not be reduced since you were eligible at the time of disbursement or census date, as applicable. However, if you decide to make application for a Federal Direct Loan beyond the census date and you are not enrolled at least half-time in eligible coursework that applies toward your new program of study, you will not be eligible for the Federal Direct Loan.
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 need to meet with an Academic Advisor to ensure you are in the correct program of study. Changing your program of study can only be done with your advisor and should be done with great caution because it may impact your eligibility for future semesters. Always work with an academic advisor and the MT One Stop when you are changing from one program to another as it can cause you to lose financial aid eligibility by reaching the maximum time-frame for completion of degree (150% rule).
How will courses used to earn Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure be treated?
Coursework attempted for the sole purpose of completing state requirements for Teacher Licensure or Add‐On Endorsement certification counts as eligible coursework for Federal Direct Loans. Federal Direct Loan eligibility is based on undergraduate annual / aggregate loan limits regardless of class level. Since Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure is not a degree program, it is not monitored through the degree evaluation tool (DegreeWorks). As applicable, undergraduate / graduate students must submit the Request for Federal Financial Aid for Additional Coursework Form and a copy of the Program of Study received from the MTSU Office of Teacher Licensure to the MT One Stop. You must be enrolled at least half-time in coursework listed on your Program of Study each semester to qualify for a Federal Direct Loan.
What about graduating seniors in their last semester?
Only courses that are part of the program of study as documented in the degree evaluation tool (DegreeWorks) are eligible for financial aid. For example, if you only need 3 hours to graduate but you choose to register for 6 hours to qualify for a Federal Direct Loan, you will not be eligible for the Direct Loan. Regarding MTSU Guaranteed Scholarships that require full-time enrollment, exceptions can be requested to receive the scholarship your last semester if you have less than 12 credit hours required to complete your program of study. Email the MT One Stop at email@example.com regarding an exception.
How will this affect study abroad?
Study abroad courses may count for financial aid if they count towards outstanding coursework in your officially declared program of study.
How are scholarships affected?
MTSU Guaranteed Scholarships and TN Lottery Scholarships are subject to CPoS rules. The MTSU Buchanan Fellowship, Honors Transfer Fellowship, Foundation Scholarships, Departmental Scholarships, Athletic Scholarships, and Private Scholarships are not subject to CPoS rules. However, the cost of attendance will be reduced for courses that are not counting in the program of study, which may result in a lower amount of aid a student may receive.
What if a course doesn’t count toward CPoS but I think it should?
Check PipelineMT to see if your major(s) and minor(s) are officially declared and your catalog year is correct. Email or make an appointment with your academic advisor if you need to make adjustments to your officially declared program.
I want federal student loans, but only 4 out of my 9 enrolled hours apply towards outstanding requirements in my officially declared program of study. Can I still get 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. Because only 4 credits apply to your program of study, you are not enrolled at least half-time to be eligible. Refer to the enrollment status chart on the Impact on Financial Aid menu option.
I have been awarded a TN Lottery Scholarship and a TN State Grant (TN Student Assistance Award) but only 4 out of my 6 enrolled credit hours apply towards outstanding requirements in my officially declared program of study. Can I still receive these funds?
It depends. To receive a TN State Grant you must be enrolled at least half-time in credit hours that apply toward your officially declared program of study. Because only 4 credits apply to your program of study, you are not enrolled at least half-time to be eligible. To receive a TN Lottery Scholarship, you must be enrolled at least half-time in credit hours that apply to your officially declared program of study EXCEPT (1) the last semester before graduating and you need less than 6 credit hours to graduate or (2) any semester in which MTSU does not offer at least six hours of eligible coursework.
For the upcoming semester, I plan to enroll in 17 hours, which includes a 3 hour class that doesn’t apply toward outstanding requirements in my officially declared program of study. Will financial aid pay for the ineligible 3 hour class?
It depends. Financial aid will disburse based on full-time enrollment status. If you have authorized payment by completing the online Federal Aid Authorization to Pay Miscellaneous Charges Form listed as a Financial Aid Requirement within PipelineMT, federal aid can be applied to charges related to non-CPoS eligible coursework. No authorization is needed for other sources of aid to be applied to charges related to non-CPoS eligible coursework.
Some of the classes in which I’m enrolled do not apply toward my program of study. What do I do next?
Your aid is based on coursework that applies toward outstanding requirements in your program of study. Therefore, your aid may be reduced. You have two options:
- 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 in your
officially declared program that will be eligible for financial aid.
- If the semester has already begun and your financial aid does not cover all of your tuition 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 for your course(s) that are not in your program. If not, the ineligible courses can be paid for out of pocket or you may qualify for the Installment Payment Plan.
None of my courses apply toward outstanding requirements in my officially declared program of study, but I still want to take them. What does this mean for me?
Because you are not enrolled in any CPoS eligible coursework, you are not eligible for financial aid programs that follow CPoS rules. If you are not receiving sufficient aid from sources that do not follow CPoS rules, MTSU offers an Installment Payment Plan during fall and spring semesters for students to help ease the burden of paying for college. However, if you plan on receiving financial aid in the future, then it is imperative that you maintain financial aid satisfactory academic progress. Otherwise, you may end up on financial aid suspension.
|Check PipelineMT to be sure your major and minors are correctly declared.
See your advisor to be sure you're registering for classes that fulfill an outstanding requirement.
Check your Financial Aid Tab in PipelineMT for messages and updates to your financial aid.