Understanding your Degree Plan and Eligibility for Financial Aid
An enhancement has been made to the Degree Evaluation in Goldmine designed to help you understand whether the courses you register for are a part of your degree plan and, therefore, eligible for you to receive federal financial aid. In addition, this feature will help you determine if you are registering for any classes that you may not need to graduate from UTEP.
While following your degree plan has always been critical to your eligibility for financial aid, upon registering for classes, this new feature will allow you to determine if any of your courses fall outside of your degree plan.
In Goldmine, your degree evaluation will look pretty much the same. The courses you have already completed will fall into the categories that they meet, just as they did in the past. Courses for which you are currently registered that meet your degree plan will also be in their appropriate area of the degree plan. However, if you have registered for any courses that do not apply to your degree plan, at the bottom of the page, you will now see a section called “Non-Contributing Courses” and the text above that section states: “These course(s) are not a part of your approved degree plan and will not count towards financial aid eligibility.”
If there are course(s) listed in this section, you will want to review these course(s) with your academic advisor. In some cases, it may be possible for your advisor to use these course(s) as a substitution for a required class, while in other cases you may need to change your schedule.
Please see a list of common questions below:
- If you have 12 or more credits of courses that apply to your degree plan and this course is the 13th credit or more, you do not need to make any changes as you are considered enrolled full-time to determine your eligibility for financial aid.
- If you have fewer than 12 credits that apply to your degree plan and you were trying to use these courses to reach full-time status, you will need to enroll in additional credits that DO meet your degree plan in order to be full-time. You may certainly choose to remain in the non-contributing course, but it will not help you reach full-time status for financial aid since it does not contribute to your degree.
- If your degree plan has room for elective courses, and if this course could help you to reach the 120 credit hours you need to graduate, your academic advisor may be able to move/substitute the non-contributing course(s) into an electives area that will count toward your degree.
- It is possible that you have been approved to substitute one course for another in your degree plan, but that an academic advisor in your College has not yet moved that course into the appropriate area of the degree evaluation. Please speak with your academic advisor.
- It is possible that you have not yet been approved for a substitution, but you can complete the appropriate paperwork in your College to determine if the course(s) can be approved to use toward your degree plan. Contact your College or academic advisor to initiate the paperwork.
- It is possible that you enrolled for the wrong course. Please double-check with your academic advisor.
- This happens most commonly when a student intends to change majors, but has not yet officially completed the change-of-major process. Check to determine if your degree evaluation shows your intended major. If not, please go immediately to your College to initiate the change of major process.
- If you see the correct major is listed, then another possibility is that you are in a major that requires the election of a concentration, but that the concentration has not yet been properly attached to your degree plan. Please see your academic advisor if you think that is your situation. Usually, this can be fixed quickly and your degree plan will be adjusted to include the relevant courses. Then re-run the degree evaluation to assure that the changes have been made and show correctly.
- Sometimes, this can happen when you have the intention to change your minor or your concentration within your major, but have not yet done so. Check with your academic advisor to be sure to resolve this issue.
- Repeating a course is usually eligible to receive financial aid if you are attempting to improve an “F grade” to a passing grade. If you already have a passing grade (D or better) and you are attempting to improve that grade, this is usually eligible for financial aid – but only ONE time. Keep in mind that financial aid eligibility also requires Satisfactory Academic Progress and low grades can also affect your eligibility for financial aid.
- It is important to note that even if a course is not part of your degree plan and therefore, not eligible for financial aid, you may still elect to take that course. Sometimes, it makes sense to pay for a course (or courses) yourself, in order to advance your time to degree completion. Sometimes, federal or state funds are not applicable to your personal circumstances, but other sources of funding may be used.
I just chose my major (or changed my major), but I have already taken credits that do not fit my new major. I need to take a couple of pre-requisite courses for my degree before I can take a full-time load in my degree plan. I thought I could just take a couple of courses to get to full- time, but those extra course(s) are listed in the “non-contributing” area of the degree evaluation. How can I enroll full-time if these classes will not apply to my degree plan?
- If your degree plan has a flexible elective area, your academic advisor may be able to apply those other courses to that area to resolve the issue. You will need to check with your academic advisor to determine if this is possible.
- For many degree plans, however, there is very little flexibility. If you have already completed the University Core Curriculum, you may be in a situation where you can only take two or three courses that will apply to your degree plan until you complete your prerequisites. Students enrolled less than full-time are eligible to receive some types of financial aid at a pro-rated amount. Keep in mind that financial aid eligibility also requires Satisfactory Academic Progress and includes a maximum timeframe to degree completion.
- Please “run” the degree evaluation for both degree plans and make sure all courses will apply to one degree OR the other degree. If you are not certain your courses are showing correctly, please see your academic advisor.
- Since a double major requires more hours than a single degree program, you may be at risk of exceeding the maximum number of credits (180) for undergraduate students to continue to receive Financial Aid. Please review the Satisfactory Academic Progress