Pop Quiz - Can Title IV Funds be Used to Pay for Classes Not Applicable to a Student’s Program?


A school would like to use Title IV aid to pay for courses not applicable to a student’s program of study. The student has no remaining elective credits and would like to take photography class. The student is majoring in business. If the student has 9 credits required and 3 credits non-required (such as a photography class), can we pay the student full-time?  


No. If the course is not required for degree completion, you cannot include it in the student's enrollment status, and you cannot award Title IV funds to pay for the course. The following can be found on pages 1 through 14 of the 2015-16 FSA Handbook: "If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward his degree, they cannot be used to determine enrollment status unless they are eligible remedial courses."

To be eligible for Title IV funds, a student must be a regular student as defined in section 600.2 of the General Provisions regulations. A regular student is defined as: “A person who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential offered by that institution.” Therefore, students are not eligible to receive Title IV assistance for credit hours/course work, which will not count towards the completion of that student's degree program requirements.

Certain exceptions exist for remedial courses and nondegree students who are taking courses that are required for enrollment in a program leading to a degree or certificate. [600.2; 668.20; 668.32(a)(1)(ii)]


Publication Date: 6/23/2016

Jose C | 7/24/2017 11:33:49 AM

@Ethel, did you ever get an answer to your question?, we were wondering exactly the same!

Ethel D | 7/2/2016 1:0:21 PM

In this example, would the photography course also be excluded when the Registrar reports enrollment status to NSLDS? A secondary question, does a student have to be enrolled in courses required for degree completion to qualify for a loan deferment?

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