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Financial Aid and your Plan of Study

Department of Education regulations mandate students receiving financial aid will only be eligible to receive funding for registered courses on their degree plan. Beginning spring 2018, students need to be aware of this change when registering for classes for the upcoming spring 2018 term and plan classes accordingly. Students are advised to only register for classes on their plan of study. If the desired class is outside that plan, options may be discussed with the student’s advisor.

Students are easily able to view their plan of study on-line, further providing assistance in planning to take applicable courses. Access to the plan of study is through mySFA on the “Advising” tab under the “Education Planning” section by selecting the link named “Degree Evaluation (CAPP).” A tutorial on how to run the evaluation also is in the section named “Degree Evaluation (CAPP) Tutorial.”

The plan of study refers to the degree requirements that were submitted to and approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. These requirements are defined in the Banner student information system under the Degree Evaluation, also referred to as CAPP.

Financial aid and degree plans

  • If you are enrolled in classes for the spring term that will affect your financial aid, you will receive notifications prior to the start of classes for the spring 2018 term by email and in the mySFA home page under the “Important Notifications” section.  These notifications will be repeated before the rule is implemented for spring 2018.
  • Financial Aid undergraduate students need to take a minimum of 12 hours from the plan of study in order to be considered full-time for financial aid. The university recommends that students take at least 15 hours each semester in order to graduate in a timely manner.
  • Financial Aid graduate students need to take a minimum of nine hours from the plan of study in order to be considered full-time.
  • This is not a retroactive rule; it will begin for spring 2018 and be the standard moving forward.
  • Students are able to look at their plan of study to make sure they are taking approved courses. They can find links for “Degree Evaluation (CAPP)” and the corresponding tutorial describing how to run the process in their mySFA on the “Advising” tab, under the “Education Planning” section.
  • There will be multiple communications sent out before this rule takes effect through email and in mySFA “Important Notifications” section. For students registered and affected by the rule, special communications will be targeted to those students notifying them there is an issue and providing suggestions for remedy. Students must read their emails and mySFA “Important Notifications” to receive all official SFA communications.

Eligibility consideration examples

Direct Loans: A student is taking 6 hours and is “enrolled” as a Registrar’s Office defined half-time student and would be eligible to receive a direct loan.

  • If a three hour class is not listed as counting towards their degree, then the student would only be enrolled in three hours (less than half-time for financial aid purposes) and would no longer be eligible to receive direct loans.
  • The student would still pay the tuition and fees associated with these courses but would be ineligible for a direct loan to cover the costs for both courses.

Pell Grants: A student is taking 6 hours and is “enrolled” as a Registrar’s Office defined half-time student and would be eligible to receive a direct loan.

  • If a three hours class is not listed as counting towards a degree, then the student would be enrolled in nine hours (3/4 time) for financial aid purposes and would receive less Pell funding.
  • The student would still pay the tuition and fees associated with this course but would be ineligible for a portion of the federal aid to cover the costs for this course.

Troubleshooting common issues

Question First Step If not solved
I was told that my registered classes need to be in my degree plan in order to maintain my financial aid status (full-time, part-time,etc). What do I do now? If you are registered, run your degree evaluation through mySFA to find out if your registered classes are in your degree plan. Registered courses in the "courses not counted" area are the ones that don't count in your degree plan.
If you are not registered, run your degree evaluation and compare to your advising slip to confirm the degree plan courses.
Make an appointment with your advisor to find out if a class is in your degree plan.
I want to take a course that is not in my degree plan. What do I do? If you are in 12 hours of degree plan courses plus the non-degree plan course (15 hours total) no action is needed.
Check this by running your degree plan.
1. Add a degree plan course to reach 12 hours of degree plan courses.
2. Take a course in your degree plan instead. (drop non-degree plan course and take new degree plan course)
3. See advisor for assistance.
Who do I contact for general questions about financial Aid only paying for courses in the degree plan? Visit the website for information on the regulation and review the important information section for more detailed information. Contact:
1. finaid@sfasu.edu
2. graduation@sfasu.edu
3. Assigned advisor
What if I have problems running my degree plan? Access the tutorial in mySFA on the "Advising" tab under the “Education Planning” section by selecting the link named “Degree Evaluation (CAPP) Tutorial" Email graduation@sfasu.edu or call 936-468-2501
What if one of my registered courses falls into the courses not used area of my degree plan but my advisor has approved it as a substitution for a required course? Contact your advisor and request the substitution be entered into the computer system/your record and check your degree plan for the course update. If you and your advisor think the course is showing in error, ask your advisor to email graduation@sfasu.edu or call 936-468-2501

Regulations

What is this new policy/Course Program of Study?

The Title IV regulation is not new. It is a part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 reference in an earlier section on this page. SFA received improvements to the software that will enable proper evaluation of enrolled courses in relation to each student’s declared program of study. Beginning with the spring semester of 2018, financial aid will only pay for courses in a student’s degree plan.

Who does the change impact?

The policy affects all students whom are receiving financial aid (Pell, grants, loans, work-study etc.) with the exception of scholarships. Scholarship awards will not be affected by this regulation.

What changes can students expect?

Students will need to be aware of their degree plans and the courses within their degree plans. Student awards could change based upon courses they enroll in. Also, students could potentially receive less aid or have aid taken away if they do not monitor their degree plans in conjunction with their enrollment.

To be considered full-time, graduate students are encouraged to enroll in at least nine hours from their plan of study. Undergraduate students are encouraged to enroll in at least 12 hours from their plan of study if they need to be considered full-time for financial aid purposes. (The university encourages undergraduate students to take at least 15 hours to finish their degree in a timely manner.)  Students can still receive financial aid if they are less than full-time, but it usually is a slightly reduced amount.

Undergraduate Enrollment Classifications

  • 12 or more hours=full-time
  • 9-11 hours: three-quarter time
  • 6-8 hours: half-time
  • 0-5 hours: less than half-time

Graduate Enrollment Classifications

  • 9 or more hours=full-time
  • 6-8 hours=half-time
  • 0-5 hours= less than half-time

More information on Registrar’s Office defined enrollment classifications can be here.

Students are easily able to view their plan of study on-line in their mySFA which will be useful in planning to take applicable courses. The plan of study tool “Degree Evaluation (CAPP),” can be accessed through mySFA on the Advising tab under the “Education Planning” section. This section also contains a tutorial on how to run a Degree Evaluation or you can use this PDF.

The plan of study refers to the degree requirements that were submitted to and approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. These requirements are defined in the Banner student information system under the Degree Evaluation, also referred to as CAPP.

How do I check to see if my course(s) count in my degree?

Students are easily able to view their plan of study on-line in their mySFA which will be useful in planning to take applicable courses. The plan of study tool “Degree Evaluation (CAPP),” can be accessed through mySFA on the Advising tab under the “Education Planning” section. This section also contains a tutorial on how to run a Degree Evaluation or you can use this PDF.

The plan of study refers to the degree requirements that were submitted to and approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. These requirements are defined in the Banner student information system under the Degree Evaluation, also referred to as CAPP. In your degree evaluation, any courses that fall under “Courses Not Used” will not be eligible to financial aid.

How does this affect undeclared/undecided students?

According to Title IV regulations, students who are undecided can still receive aid; however, there are some details within the system that have not been resolved. We will address this before we implement the new processes.

What about electives?

Electives are built in to most degree plans. Students just need to be mindful of not exceeding the allowed number of hours specified in their degree plan. If you have questions about the allowed number of electives in your degree plan, you should contact your academic advisor.

Is this regulation applicable to higher education institutions in Texas or nationwide?

The Higher Education Act of 1965 is federal legislation and applies to all higher education institutions that administer Title IV aid in the United States and abroad.

Will the evaluation process assess courses for the entire degree plan (including core classes) or just major classes?

All courses will be evaluated based on the students declared (official) major, minor, and concentration where applicable.

What if my degree evaluation does not have my correct major/minor/concentration?

Updating your major/minor/concentration

  1. If you are registered for courses that are in the major you want to change TO, contact your new advisor and request that your major/minor/concentration be updated. If your major is not updated, then your registered courses may continue to fall under “Courses Not Used” and be ineligible for financial aid.
  2. If you are registered for courses that are in your OLD major and you want to change to a NEW major/minor/concentration that your registered courses do not apply/count in, you will want to change majors/minor/concentration at the end of the current semester.

What do I do if my advisor made the course substitution but I am still not receiving financial aid?

Email graduation@sfasu.edu or call 936-468-2501.

* Keep in mind that courses that do not appear on your degree plan could/will contribute to excessive hours.

* The online degree evaluation is unofficial and may list courses not required for your degree. Please note any warnings concerning excessive hours.

 

Contact

Office of Student Financial Assistance
936.468.2403
Fax: 936.468.1048
finaid@sfasu.edu
scholarship@sfasu.edu

Contact Your Financial Aid Counselor

Your last name begins with: Your counselor is: Counselor email:
 A, B, C, D  Necole Beason  ibeason@sfasu.edu
 E, F, G, H, I, J, K  LaShanda Parkhurst  lbparkhurst@sfasu.edu
 L, M, N, O, P, Q  Sara Williams  wilkersosa@sfasu.edu
 R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z  Donna Lee  leedm@sfasu.edu
 Scholarship Information  Liz Chambliss  chamblisen@sfasu.edu


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