Stay the Course

Maximize the benefits of your financial aid.

Course Program of Study

The Course Program of Study (CPOS) is a requirement from the U.S. Department of Education. Because of CPOS, colleges and universities like EWU may only award federal financial aid for the classes listed in a student’s official degree plan in the EWU Catalog. If you’re a student taking classes that are not part of a degree plan, those courses might not qualify for financial aid.

CPOS can feel complex, but it is a positive requirement. Because it limits the number of courses a student can take, it makes it easier for you to spend less on your education. The rules of CPOS make it simpler for EWU to organize degrees, for students to plan and sign up for classes, and for you to determine the best time to graduate.

Federal financial aid is only awarded for courses included in your program of study.

This federal requirement is not new. What is new is how EWU’s data systems can track it. Beginning with Fall 2024 registration, student systems will indicate when students aren’t following CPOS rules for federal aid. All federal aid sources are affected, including Pell grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), federal work-study, and student loans (subsidized, unsubsidized, parent PLUS, and graduate PLUS).

How Does it Work?

There are two parts to receiving a full financial aid award:

  1. Your coursework must include a minimum of twelve (12) undergraduate hours or eight (8) graduate hours.  You can take more, but you can’t take fewer if want a full aid award.
  2. A minimum of twelve (12) undergraduate hours or eight (8) graduate hours must be part of your declared EWU degree. If your credit hours do not meet this requirement, your financial aid eligibility is reduced.

It’s important to know that dropping classes may reduce your financial aid, and if you change your major, it can impact how much aid you’re eligible for.

Undergraduate Hours

Total Registered HoursHours that CountHours that Don’t CountStudent Aid Eligibility
12120Full-time aid
1266Half-time aid
16124Full-time aid

Graduate Hours

Total Registered HoursHours that CountHours that Don’t CountStudent Aid Eligibility
880Full-time aid
853Half-time aid
1284Full-time aid

How Can I Stay on Course?

  1. Keep Your Declared Major Current

    If you decide to change your major do so as soon as possible.

  2. Know Your Degree Requirements

    Check the University Catalog.

  3. Review Degree Works

    Use Degree Works to audit the courses that apply to your EWU degree (as a general education requirement, major requirement or in-degree elective credit).

  4. Meet the Registration Requirements

    Register for a minimum of twelve (12) undergraduate hours or eight (8) graduate hours from your program of study each term of enrollment.

  5. Meet with Your Academic Advisor

    Meet with your academic advisor if you are considering changing, dropping, or withdrawing from a class. Then check with your Financial Aid counselor as this may affect your aid.

  6. Watch Your Email

    Financial aid will monitor enrollment for the next term after priority registration closes and notify you if there are issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

A degree-seeking post-bac will not be affected so long as courses taken are degree-applicable.

Double majors will need to work with their advisor to carefully create an academic plan. If you finish one degree before the other, your aid may be impacted.

Financial aid is not retroactively adjusted for prior terms. Students can change majors as needed from term to term without penalty so long as courses are degree-applicable at that point in time.

The deadline to submit a major change is the first day of the term.


If your major requires you to complete a minor, your minor is considered part of your degree program. It counts! If your major doesn’t require a minor, make sure you have enough “In-degree Elective” space to account for your minor.

Check in with your advisor and see if they can put in an exception, designating the course as required for your major. If this does not resolve the issue, contact the financial aid office.

US Department of Education, Federal Regulations*

Regulatory Citations: 34 CFR 600.2, 34 CFR 668.32 and Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1, Chapter 1 Restriction on coursework/learning which is not Title IV-eligible. Failure to comply with this regulation jeopardizes EWU’s Title IV financial aid funding eligibility.