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Course Program of Study FAQ

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulations require that a student must be enrolled in a degree-seeking (and/or certificate-seeking) program to receive federal financial aid (Grants, Loans, Work Study). Funds will only be disbursed for the courses needed to fulfill the program of study requirements.  Federal financial aid funding sources will be subject to this regulation.

Effective Summer 2022, students enrolling in courses that are not required to complete their officially declared degree or certificate could see their financial aid prorated and/or cancelled as required by the U.S. Department of Education.

What is CPOS?

Course Program of Study (CPOS) is the process that is run to identify courses within a student’s program of study.  The process will compare the courses a student registers for each term with the degree requirements listed on their DegreeCheck worksheet.  Courses that do not apply towards a student’s officially declared program of study will be ineligible for federal financial aid. 

How does the process work?

The CPOS process will check each student’s registered courses for the term and identify courses that do not meet CPOS criteria.  Students will be notified via email a few weeks after registration begins until the drop date, and throughout the term for courses starting after the drop date if aid is impacted. Students may receive multiple emails if there are changes to their registered courses. 

What does this mean?

Federal financial aid (Pell grants, FSEOG grants, Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized and PLUS Loans, and Federal Work Study), will be adjusted if a student is not registered in courses that apply to their officially declared program of study. Students should plan carefully and ensure that their registration aligns with their degree program requirements.

Students should review their DegreeCheck if they receive a CPOS notification.  Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their Pathways Advisor to discuss course registration changes.

Is the Colorado Opportunity Fund (COF) stipend impacted?


What if I want to take a course that is not required for my degree? 

You may still do so; however, you may not receive financial aid for that course. Financial aid will prorate automatically based on your enrollment status for courses within your program of study.  If you have questions about your authorized or disbursed amounts of financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office at

What if I make a mistake and register for a course that does not meet requirements? 

After registration, the Financial Aid Office will begin reviewing enrollment and will let you know if a course for which you registered cannot be used to determine your aid eligibility. You will have time to drop that course before the term begins and add another in its place. However, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure you are enrolled in courses which are required for your degree and the number of credit hours for federal aid program funds you are receiving.

Students can also look in Degree Check under the “Not Counted” heading to find out if a particular course(s) will not be financial aid eligible.


What happens if I change my program for a future term?

Financial aid is not retroactively adjusted for prior terms. Students may change degree programs as needed for future terms.  The CPOS process is looking at only the program declared for each term.