Advising Tips for CPOS

"Make Every Course Count"

Visit official CPOS webpage with more informaton and FAQ

The US Department of Education regulations require that a student be enrolled in a degree-seeking or eligible certificate program to receive federal financial aid (Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Direct Loans, and Federal Work Study). This page will review advising-related considerations pertaining to this policy.

  • Courses counting toward a Degree Program are courses that meet a requirement in the LEP, Major, Cognate, Minor, as well as “free elective” courses.
  • Full-time UG students should be advised to take at least 12 credits in courses that meet a requirement within their degree program, as outlined on their degree evaluation, including free electives.
  • For Part-Time students, at ¾ time aid need to be in 9 credits that count, for ½ time aid need to be in 6 credits that count. Part-time student should consult with Financial Aid to identify how many credits of “eligible courses” they must take.

You can check to see how many “free Electives” or ECA (Elective Credits Allowed) a student has left:

  • The number of “free” electives space is variable depending on the student and their major. There are two quick ways to know if a student has any free elective space left.
  • If there is no Excess block, then the student will have some free elective space.
  • To find out the total number of ECA for each individual student, use the Degree Evaluation Diagnostics option, found on the degree evaluation (see screen shot below). In the sample below, the student will be able to take a total ECA=12 in their program. You would then compare the allotted 12 to the number they have already taken to calculate how many more they will be able to take. If there is no Elective block yet, it indicates that still will need all their ECA.

Click on the Diagnostics option found under the second block on a Degree Evaluation (above). Selecting this will take you to another page, look closely for the following areas:

If there is an “Excess Credit” box on their DE, they will NOT have any more Free Elective (ECA) space:

  • Check to see if there is an Excess block listed with courses in it at the bottom of the degree evaluation; this indicates that they have already exceeded their Elective Credits Allowed (ECA) for their major/program.
  • If a student has not ECA, then they should be advised to take courses that count towards their program.
  • Remember, full-time UG students need 12 credits to count towards their program. Those 12 credits MUST count towards their program (NOT in excess credits). Above the 12 credits, they can take a course that falls into excess block, but it is important to explain that those courses are not necessary to meet degree requirements in their program.
  • ​​​​​​Students must be taking courses toward their degree program, so it is important they are in the major they are taking courses in.  If they are no longer interested in pursuing the major they are declared in, they must change their major via Banner Student as soon as possible. If they are unsure of which major they want, they should declare themselves Exploratory and see an Advising Specialist.
  • If a student is currently taking courses in that meet the requirements for a “new” major or minor that they are NOT declared in, they must declare their major asap. A new major/minor must be declared and approved by the department by the semester’s financial aid freeze date. If they are not currently taking courses in their desired major or minor, but plan to start taking them the following semester, they must declare it and have it approved by the next semester’s financial aid freeze date.
  • See these links for the Freeze date and information about the Financial Aid Freeze date: 
  • All registered courses must be in the appropriate place on the student’s Degree Evaluation before the Financial Aid date. Course substitutions/equivalencies must be identified and submitted to the Registrar via a workflow. 
  • Workflows can be submitted as soon as they are approved (by an advisor/chair), a student DOES NOT need to be registered for the course for a workflow to be submitted.
  • If students have any questions about this course eligibility policy, direct them to Academic Advising.
  •  Students will be notified via email by Financial Aid if they have registered for a course that will not be eligible for financial aid. When contacted, undergraduate students will be directed to the Academic Advising for support. Graduate Student will be directed to their program coordinator.