Course Program of Study (CPoS) FAQs

FAQs for Students

What is Course Program of Study (CPoS)?

Course Program of Study is a process to stay in compliance with federal regulations on financial aid. Financial aid funds can only be awarded for courses that are required for your degree program.

How do I know what courses count for my degree?

You can see your degree plan in your STAR account.  Your major will be listed at the top of your GPS Registration page.  Your STAR account will be a helpful tool in displaying the required courses for your degree or certificate. They are listed in your STAR Graduation Pathway. You can also click on a requirement for more details regarding what courses count for that requirement.

Why would a course not “count” for financial aid?

Generally, a course will display as NOT IN PLAN because it does not count for a requirement for the degree. This could be because the course is not part of the degree plan or because you took a course(s) that already fulfills that requirement.

A course will display as Non-Applicable when it is a repeat; however, some repeats can count and will be adjusted accordingly.  See the next section for details on repeats that can count for financial aid.

Can I repeat courses and still have them count for financial aid?

Per Title IV guidelines, you may repeat an applicable course once for financial aid if you previously earned a passing grade (A through D- grades).

What if I am completing a course for my major requirements, but it requires a corequisite course (such as a laboratory) that is showing as “Not in Plan” in STAR GPS? Can I still receive financial aid funding?

No, Financial Aid will only pay for the course still required to complete your program.

What if I take more than 12 credits? How is my financial aid affected?

12 credits is full time enrollment at UH Mānoa. Additional credits taken do not increase tuition cost in that semester, unless you are enrolled in Extension courses. Course(s) labeled as “NOT IN PLAN” in STAR GPS can be taken at no additional expense if you are already enrolled in at least 12 credits that count for financial aid purposes.

What if I am taking some courses here and some courses at the community college?

You must take at least 6 of your credits at UH Mānoa in order to be eligible for financial aid. In order to have your UH Mānoa aid cover courses at another campus, you must complete the Concurrent Enrollment form and have your UH Mānoa Advisor review and approve it. Please submit the form for the applicable deadline(s) for Fall and Spring terms.

How would elective courses be counted towards CPoS?

If a program of study has specific courses that can count as electives, then only those courses will be eligible unless an exception is made by your academic advisor. If there is no specified list, then any course would count as long as you still need the course to fulfill your elective requirement.

How will prerequisite courses affect course program of study requirements for financial aid?

Prerequisite courses are eligible for financial aid as long as they are required for students to complete their degree (program of study).

What if I want to take prerequisite coursework for graduate or professional school?

If courses required as prerequisites for graduate or professional school are fulfilling at least one graduation requirement then they count for financial aid purposes. If the course(s) are labeled as “NOT IN PLAN” in STAR GPS, they can be taken at no additional expense if you are already enrolled in at least 12 credits that count for financial aid purposes in that semester.

How would this impact me if I participate in a Study Abroad, National Student Exchange, Mānoa International Exchange?

Students in these programs would be financially eligible so long as the courses they are taking (or going to be transferring back) are part of their degree program.

What if I am taking courses toward a minor?

You must formally declare your minor with the department. Once declared, courses required for your minor can count for financial aid purposes.

Who do I talk to for help in making my registration compliant to CPoS?

Please talk to your college/school academic advisor.

What specific aid will be impacted by CPoS?

The following may be adjusted if you are not full-time due to courses ‘Not in Plan’: Federal Pell grant, Federal SEOG; Federal Work Study Funds, Federal Direct and PLUS loans, State Higher Education Loan, Hawaii BPlus scholarship, Manoa Opportunity Grant and the Second Century Scholarship.

I have updated my plan with my academic advisor after the freeze date and now my courses are considered ‘IN PLAN’ in STAR GPS, can I get my aid reinstated?

You may submit an email to to notify us of the update. However, you would only be eligible to reinstate/increase loans. Please refer to the Financial Aid Important Dates & Deadlines for the freeze date and financial aid request deadline.

FAQs for Advisors, Faculty, & Staff

US Department of Education regulations require that students must be enrolled in courses applicable to their degree-seeking program in order to receive federal student financial aid. Students who are enrolled in coursework not applicable towards their degree program risk having their financial aid cancelled or prorated.

Is CPoS new?

CPoS has actually been a requirement by the Federal Government for a number of years. Nationally, institutions are all moving toward this, in an effort to keep their federal funding. Due to advancements in technology, we now have the tools necessary to be able to be in compliance.

I am a faculty advisor. How does this impact my work with students?

Please note that CPoS only impacts Financial Aid, based on applicability of courses, so if you do not usually fill out Financial Aid forms, you will not have to do so for CPoS. However, as a faculty advisor, your recommendations in terms of major, minors, requirements, electives taken, timeline to graduation, etc., will be valued by students, and could impact the decisions they make. These decisions could impact their Financial Aid package. As a result, you can best assist students, by being aware of the CPoS guidelines so that your students are not adversely impacted in terms of their ability to receive Financial Aid. On the Financial Aid Census Date (the 50% refund deadline) each semester, Financial Aid will calculate the student’s Financial Aid, based on what the student is registered for at that time. Ideally, advisors who have to review CPoS compliance will be asked to assist students prior to the start of the semester. Due to the timing of the compliance check, loss or adjustment of aid cannot always be easily changed. This is a shared responsibility, so please do your part.

Will students be able to additionally “count” courses for double majors or minors?

Potentially, but not automatically. In addition to CPoS rules, students must make Satisfactory Academic Progress, as defined by the Federal Financial Aid regulations that cover: Qualitative (GPA), Quantitative (Pace), and Maximum Timeframe (time to degree) standards. As a result, students may be able to fit in courses for double majors and minors, based on careful planning. Courses for minors can only count if the student’s GPS Pathway shows remaining elective courses.

Will students be able to additionally “count” courses that may not be needed for their General Education or primary major requirements, but are required as prerequisites for medical school, health professions, etc.?

Similar to minors, these prerequisite courses will only count if they count towards remaining elective courses.

How will this impact students who change majors?

Students who change majors will be allowed to count courses that apply to their new major and General Education requirements. They should make their decisions wisely, however, since they will be subject to Federal Financial Aid guidelines regarding time to degree and maximum timeframe allowed. It is possible for students to run out of aid based on these other factors.

Since UH Mānoa allows 12 credits and above to be charged the same price of tuition, can students take 12 credits that apply towards General Education and major requirements to fulfill their full-time status and then additionally take “extra” courses (for double majors, minors, prerequisites for medical school, health professions)?

While this may be possible, and in some cases, taking extra courses could help students to balance their courses to meet Qualitative (GPA) and Quantitative (Pace) standards, students must still keep track of their maximum timeframe allowed.

How does this impact transfer students who may have taken community college courses that do not transfer, but still lack courses for their major?

Financial Aid understands that courses taken at previous institutions may have been previously required at that previous institution. However, students will still be subject to restrictions regarding maximum timeframe allowed. As a result, transfer students are strongly recommended to work closely with advisors and Financial Aid counselors to be sure that they can use their remaining Financial Aid most efficiently.

In cases in which courses are only offered in certain semesters (i.e., Spring only) and students are required to take less than full-time coursework as a result, what are their options?

In these types of cases, Financial Aid will be adjusted strictly according to the courses needed to complete the degree.