CPoS reporting affects financial aid beginning this summer

Abigail Henderson, Features Editor

College is expensive enough without financial aid being unavailable for non-essential classes. (Art by Ainsley Howard)

Starting from the summer semester of 2023, some students may face gradual or canceled financial aid in accordance with regulations of the Department of Education as Course Program of Study (CPoS) reporting takes full effect. 

Determining the amount of financial aid a student is eligible to receive typically accounts for the cost of their program of study and the number of credits they are taking. CPoS now stipulates that disbursement of funds is limited to courses necessary to fulfill the degree requirements of a student’s officially declared program of study. 

Therefore, students who enroll in courses that are not required for program completion will be ineligible for federal financial aid for those courses, including loans, grants and work-study. 

According to Registrar Director, Gina Floyd, “Over 50% of GHC students rely on federal financial aid for their college expenses.” 

Therefore, indicating their program of study will be essential to ensure they meet the necessary eligibility criteria and that the aid they receive is appropriate for the cost of their education. 

“While federal aid covering only classes in a student’s program of study is not a new regulation, CPoS now allows – even requires – GHC to report on this,” Floyd said “Students will need to pay more attention to their degree and pathway on record and classes required as well as deadlines on the Academic Calendar.”

Important CPoS deadlines to be aware of each semester include submission of Petition to Change Pathway requests and Curriculum Substitution forms. 

The deadline to declare a program of study (pathway) is two weeks before the last day of add/drop for the earliest part of the enrolled term. Any changes made to a pathway that are submitted after the CPoS deadline will not take effect until the following semester. 

Likewise, should a student enroll in a course intending to have it substituted for another course, an approved substitution form must be on file three weeks before the earliest part of the term in which the student is enrolled.

CPoS brings its own set of concerns, including the potential for limited academic flexibility and issues that may arise due to course availability.

Once students declare their program of study, they may have restricted flexibility in changing their major or switching to a different program; their financial aid eligibility may be jeopardized due to a specific set of courses they must take.

Also, should there be limited availability of required courses in particular programs, it could lead to scheduling conflicts or delays in expected graduation dates. Students who cannot enroll in courses needed to satisfy academic requirements could risk losing their financial aid eligibility as well.

However, advising is available to assist students in determining the best way to plan their course schedules, and Program Checklists can serve as an excellent resource for pathway options as well.  

Students can also remain informed of the qualifying courses of their program for federal financial aid through Schedule/Bill, SCORECard, MyGHC and their student email. 

“GHC has been preparing for this change, and there will be new, user-friendly resources for students such as indicating registered courses not covered by federal aid on the Schedule Bill and in SCORECard, a new Program of Study Update that will replace the Petition to Change Pathway in late March, and the ability to declare double degrees and double pathways,” said Floyd. 

Overall, CPoS has the potential to be a positive thing for students. By declaring a pathway, students can plan out the courses they need to take and make educated decisions as it relates to their academic and career paths. 

Since it will require students to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward their degree, it will keep students accountable for completing their program of study, which may lead to higher completion rates. 

GHC Inform, an email digest for faculty and staff, stated, “It is the college’s hope that Course Program of Study (CPoS) will help students remain on academic track toward graduation while keeping them fully eligible for federal financial aid.” 

Students can find out more about CPoS on the GHC official website.