St. Norbert College campus background

Course Program of Study

Course Program of Study (CPOS)

Course Program of Study, often referred to as CPOS, is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Education that mandates that only the courses in a student’s declared course program of study, which includes declared major(s), minor(s), certificate(s) and core requirements, will determine that student’s eligibility for federal financial aid, such as Pell Grant, SEOG (Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant), TEACH Grant, Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Parent PLUS Loans, and Federal Work Study. All aid is subject to the cost of attendance limits.

CPOS was designed to ensure that students acquire the necessary knowledge and skills within their chosen field of study. It allows students to navigate their academic journey more efficiently, reducing student costs. 

To maintain eligibility for full-time federal financial aid, undergraduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours within their degree program. If a student falls below the 12-credit hour threshold, their federal financial aid will be adjusted proportionally based on the total number of qualifying hours. Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 3 credits within their degree program to receive federal aid.

Make your courses count

Each semester prior to registration, you will meet with your academic advisor to review your DegreeWorks audit and identify courses that align with your declared program of study.

We’re here to help

At St. Norbert College, we are committed to supporting our students in every step of their educational journey. We are here to assist you in making informed decisions and in achieving academic success. Please review the frequently asked questions below.

For questions about your course schedule ro registration, please connect with your academic advisor.

If you have questions about financial aid eligibility, please reach out to

Frequently Asked Questions

Meet with your academic advisor before registering for classes to ensure that your selected courses align with your declared program of study. Courses in your declared program of study should qualify for federal funding.

If your courses for the upcoming semester are found to render you ineligible for full-time federal financial aid, SNC's office of financial aid will notify you via email. You'll be encouraged to review and, if necessary, adjust your schedule to meet the eligibility criteria.

DegreeWorks reflects the most current course program of study for a student.

If you are planning on changing your major – or adding any secondary majors, minors or certificates – you should contact your academic advisor as soon as you’ve made the decision.

Students who wish to update their Course Program of Study will need to update this using the form on the registrar's office website.

Students who have not yet declared a major can take core curriculum and exploratory coursework. Students should work closely with their academic advisor on appropriate exploratory coursework. You can maintain eligibility for federal financial aid as long as your courses contribute to degree requirements.

The registrar’s office will process major, minor and certificate changes as requested. It is recommended that students work with their academic advisor before updating their course program of study.

You should discuss this with your advisor to see what other course options may be available.

Students will need to make sure their declared course program of study is reflected correctly in DegreeWorks. This includes coursework that is required for all declared majors, minors and certificates, along with Core Curriculum requirements.

If the course is required to complete your degree program, you can retake it and continue to receive aid for that course until you receive a passing grade and for one additional attempt after a passing grade.  

Yes! If you are required to take a prerequisite course for a course in your course program of study, this is eligible for CPOS.

Your federal aid is based on coursework that applies toward your course program of study. If some of your courses don’t qualify, there may be a reduction in your federal aid. You have two options available:

  1. Schedule a meeting with your academic advisor to explore alternatives. If the semester has not yet started, it may be advisable to drop any ineligible course(s) and enroll exclusively in courses within your declared program that qualify for federal financial aid.
  2. If the semester is already underway and the reduction in your federal financial aid leads to a balance due, you will be responsible for paying the owed amount. Contact the student account services office for information on payment options.

All financial aid is subject to Cost of Attendance (COA) limits. A student’s cost of attendance (COA) includes both direct and indirect expenses and it is used to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid. This COA is based on a student’s enrollment classification for courses that count toward your program of study. This COA is based on CPOS-eligible courses.

As an example, if you are an undergraduate student enrolled in 12 credit hours that count toward your course program of study, you will be considered a full-time student for Cost of Attendance (COA) purposes. However, if only 9 of the 12 credit hours are required for your officially declared course program of study, your COA will be reduced to a three-quarter time amount (even though you may be billed at a full-time rate).

Study abroad courses count for federal financial aid if they apply toward coursework in your declared course program of study. 

Eligibility for institutional and/or private financial aid is not subject to the same federal CPOS requirements. However, these types of aid are still subject to the terms and conditions set forth by the provider. In addition, all financial aid is subject to a student’s financial aid “Cost of Attendance” limits.