Degree Audit Information and Q&A

Federal Title IV aid and state financial aid regulations mandate that federal and state aid cannot be awarded for courses that do not count toward a student’s academic program. If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward his or her degree or certificate, those courses cannot be used to determine enrollment status. HSU uses the student information delivered process called “degree audit” to monitor student courses more closely in order to meet federal compliance requirements.

Q: Do the degree audit regulations apply to all students?
The regulations apply to all students receiving financial aid from federal and state sources.

Q: Why are only courses required for the degree considered eligible?
The federal regulations governing student financial aid indicate that a student enrolled in courses that do not count towards the degree, certificate, or other recognized credential, cannot be used to determine enrollment status.

Ex. If a student is taking 15 hours and 12 hours are fulfilling the undergraduate degree program then they are still a full-time student for title IV purposes. If an undergraduate student is taking 15 hours and only 9 are fulfilling the degree program, then we consider them a ¾ time student and prorate aid accordingly.

Q: What financial aid programs does this impact?
Federal Title IV aid and state financial aid programs are affected. At HSU, Federal aid includes the Federal Pell Grant, Direct Loans, Graduate and Parent PLUS Loans, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and Federal Work-Study. State financial aid affected includes the Tuition Equalization Grant.

Current HSU policy does not use degree audit in determining eligibility for institutional aid (HSU funded academic scholarships and grants).

Q: Are electives considered eligible in the degree audit?
Elective classes are eligible up to the number of electives permitted for the student’s degree, as per the program’s degree requirements.

Q: What about remedial courses?
An admitted student CAN receive title IV aid for a remedial course that increases the ability of a student to pursue a course of study leading to the degree.

Q: What about repeated courses?
A student can repeat a course (or its equivalency) an infinite number of times and receive federal aid only if all previous attempts resulted in an F on the student’s record.

Once a student passes a course (earned A, B, C, or D grade), he/she can retake the course a second time and receive federal aid (if eligible). Regardless of whether or not the second attempt is a pass or fail, the student cannot receive aid for another attempt. Ex. If the student earned a ‘C’ in a class and wants to attempt to earn an ‘A’ or ‘B’, a student may use Pell to pay for the class. If the student earns a ‘B’, he may not use federal aid in a third attempt to try and earn the ‘A’.

A student cannot receive aid for any repetition of a previously passed course due to the student failing other coursework.

Q: If a student passes a course, re-takes, and fails, can they take again and receive title IV aid?
No, only one retake for a better grade. Because they previously passed the course, they would not be able to take for a third time and receive aid.

Q: Can a student repeat a WP?
A course from which a student withdraws does not count as a repetition of a previously-passed course for determining a student’s enrollment status. When a student withdraws, the attempts do not count as completing or retaking the course.

Q: Are prerequisite classes eligible for financial aid?
A student CAN receive title IV aid for a prerequisite course if that course is required in order to register for another class that is needed to fulfill a graduation requirement.

A student CAN receive title IV aid for a course that prepares them for the next degree if that course fits into their current degree program.

A student CAN NOT receive title IV aid for a course that prepares them for the next degree if that course will not fit into their current degree program.

Q: What about dual undergraduate and graduate degree programs?
A student who is classified as an undergraduate student can receive Title IV aid to pay for only those courses (required electives or otherwise) which apply toward the student’s undergraduate degree completion requirements.

If the student is classified as an undergraduate student by HSU, but that student is taking graduate classes which do not apply toward completion of the undergraduate degree, then it becomes problematic, especially during terms when the student is taking no classes which apply toward undergraduate degree completion requirements (in which case the student will be considered enrolled less-than-half-time for Enrollment Reporting and financial aid).

Q: Are students notified that their courses will not be covered by financial aid?
Once registered, students will see a message in their self-service portal that lets them know that they are not eligible for the respective award if their courses do not qualify them for part time, three-quarter time, or full-time enrollment. The financial aid office will also be monitoring and notifying students weekly that may need additional advising.

Q: Who should a student contact with questions?
A student will first need to work with the registrar’s office regarding questionable courses and degree program requirements. If it is determined that a course or courses will not be eligible in a student’s program, please advise them to talk to a financial aid counselor to determine the significance of the change in financial aid and other options for payment assistance. or 325-670-1050.