Course Program of Study (CPoS)

Course Program of Study (CPoS)

Course Program of Study (CPoS)

Course Program of Study and Your Financial Aid

Carefully choosing and scheduling your courses each term is essential to keep you on track to complete your program on time, but did you know that the specific courses you take can affect the financial aid you are eligible to receive? The U.S. Department of Education requires that institutions only distribute federal and state financial aid funds for courses that apply to a student’s specific degree program. A new initiative, utilizing Degree Works technology, will review your registration for each term and notify you if any courses for which you are registered may affect your financial aid. 

How the Process Works

Once registration begins for a term (ex: starting in March for Fall), CPoS will be run regularly and students will be alerted via email that they have registered for a course(s) that is not required for their degree. Once Financial Aid's packaging process begins (for Fall: late May early June) Financial Aid packages may be affected by CPoS. Students will have until the end of Late Drop/Add for the term (for Fall: mid- to late-September) to come into compliance. 

What it Means for You and Your Financial Aid

Your financial aid package may be reduced or removed, entirely, based on the results of the CPoS review which will happen at the beginning of each term. All Title IV Federal Student Aid, including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Grants (SEOG), Federal Direct Loans, PLUS Loans, and Federal Work Study, may be affected by CPoS. These types of aid will only pay for eligible courses that count toward the student’s program of study. 

It is your responsibility to work with your advisor, utilizing Degree Works, to choose and register for coursework which keeps you in compliance with CPoS requirements. If you receive notice that your registration is out of compliance with CPoS, you should make adjustments to your schedule to keep in compliance. Adjustments to your course schedule will not be automatically made for you, and adjustments to financial aid will occur after the end of Late Drop/Add each term.

What it Means for You if You Do Not Receive Financial Aid

All students, regardless of financial aid status, should aim to take courses within their program of study to ensure that their tuition dollars are well spent and they remain on track to graduate on time. Even if you do not currently receive any type of financial aid, it is still important that you monitor whether or not your registered courses are applying toward your program of study.

CPoS Criteria

The CPoS process will check to see if your registration meets the below criteria.

For Undergraduate Students:

  • Full-time students are enrolled in at least 12 credits that fulfill degree requirements of their officially declared major(s) and/or minor(s).
  • Part-time students are enrolled in at least 6 credits that fulfill degree requirements of their officially declared major(s) and/or minor(s).

For Graduate Students:

  • Students are enrolled in at least 4.5 credits that fulfill degree requirements of their officially declared major.

For CADP Students:

  • Students classified as undergraduates are enrolled in at least 12 credits that fulfill degree requirements of their officially declared major(s) and/or minor(s) of their undergraduate degree.
  • Students classified as graduate students are enrolled in at least 4.5 credits that fulfill degree requirements of their officially declared major of their graduate degree.

For Certificate Programs (CUGS, CAGS, etc.):

  • If in a certificate program that is eligible for federal/state financial aid, students must meet the requirements outlined in Degree Works.

What to do if You Received a CPoS Compliance Notice

Firstly, don’t panic! Changes to financial aid will not occur immediately unless you are registering for the first time very late in the Drop/Add period. Otherwise, you will have time to make changes to your registration, if needed. If you are at risk of having your aid changed due to a CPoS compliance violation, you will receive notice to your official Rowan email address. If you receive this notice, you should check your registration against the Degree Works for your specific program(s). It’s a good idea to check with your advisor to confirm the changes you should make, and then, you should make the adjustments as soon as you can, via Self-Service Banner. 

If your advisor recommended that you take a course as a substitute to something within your degree program, and the course is falling outside of CPoS, reach out to your advisor to request that they make the substitution or exception on your Degree Works audit to bring the registered course into CPoS.

What to do to Avoid Falling out of Compliance on CPoS?

The best thing you can do to ensure that all of your registered courses are counting toward CPoS is to review your Degree Works audit promptly after registration. As long as courses are applying to some area of your degree audit and are not falling into the bank of “Courses not counting in program but applying to credit total” they are counting toward your program of study in CPoS. If a course that you registered for is falling into the Courses not Counting area, you should expect that it will fall out of CPoS, and you should review this with your advisor as soon as possible to determine if it will impact your financial aid and/or if you should make any changes to your registration.


Q: After I receive notice that I am out of CPoS compliance, if I make a registration change, will I be notified again that I am in compliance?
A: No, your name will fall off of the list of students who are notified daily. "No news is good news!"

Q: How can I appeal a CPoS decision?
A: For a CPoS decision to be "appealed" the course or courses that are falling out of compliance must be resolved with either the addition of another credential for which the course is required or with an Advisor exception or override, so that Degree Works shows the course as applying to a program requirement.

Q: Do I have to worry about CPoS if I’m not receiving financial aid?
A: Even if you do not receive financial aid, it’s a good idea to try to follow your CPoS closely. Not doing so could result in a longer time to degree completion and possibly extra expenses for courses you don’t really need for your program. 

Q: Am I ever allowed to take a course just for fun or exploration?
Because Rowan has flat rate tuition, if you have at least 12 credits that count in CPoS, any credits between 13 and 18 can be taken outside of CPoS.  Warning: If receiving Financial Aid, you have to be very careful when dropping or withdrawing from a course that is satisfying the 12 credits that are in compliance.

Q: If I only get loans, does CPoS still apply?
A: If the only aid you are receiving is in the form of loans, you must maintain 6 credits of CPoS.

What to do if You Still Have Questions about CPoS

Your academic advisor is a good person to contact first about any questions you may have about your Course Program of Study. They can review your specific program’s requirements and help you identify changes you may need to make. The Financial Aid Office can address any adjustments to your aid.