Understanding your Degree Plan and Eligibility for Financial Aid
The U.S. Department of Education requires that students receiving financial aid must be enrolled in classes that are part of a student's Degree Plan, often referred to as a student's Program of Study (POS).
The Degree Evaluation in Goldmine is designed to help you understand whether the courses you register for are a part of your degree plan/program of study and, therefore, eligible for you to receive federal financial aid and the Paydirt Promise Program. In addition, this feature will help you determine if you are registering for any classes that you may not need in order to graduate from UTEP.
Following your degree plan has always been critical to your eligibility for financial aid and it is highly recommended that upon registering for classes, students use this tool to determine if any courses fall outside a student's program of study.
After you run your Degree Evaluation in Goldmine, all of your courses will fall into specific categories and will indicate which courses are needed for graduation. This will include courses for which you are currently registered that meet your degree plan. If you have registered for any courses that do not apply to your degree plan, at the top of the page, you will 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 adjust your schedule. If your Academic Advisor enters a course as a substitution in your degree plan, please allow one business day after the change appears in your Degree Evaluation for the Office of Student Financial Aid records to be updated with the new information and to ensure financial aid eligibility.
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.
- 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 trying to improve that grade, you are only eligible to receive financial aid ONE time to attempt to achieve a higher grade. Keep in mind that receiving financial aid requires meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress and low grades may 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 or use another financial resource, in order to advance your time to degree completion.