Understanding Course Registration and How it Impacts Financial Aid

Patrick Kenney
Managing Editor

Registering for classes can be one of the most stressful, aggravating, and craziest times of the semester. From having friends save classes to trying to erase holds on accounts, class registration is simply frustrating.

Unless you are of the lucky few who get to go first, dread is an accurate description of what students feel the morning of course selection.

Through all the stress and rigors of registration, the last thing students want to think about is financial aid, but they need too.

Loans, either from the government or the institution itself, are important to many college students and have the potential to be affected when courses are selected. When it comes down to it, credits are the key to everything. The number of credits students take may have implication on their loans.

“For federal aid eligibility [the government] looks at classes going towards your degree,” said Ed Ciosek, Director of Financial Aid. “For institutional credit, from Springfield College, we look at your total enrollment.”

Simply put; Springfield College recognizes a student is taking 12 or more credits as a ‘full-time’ student. Any fewer than that (11 credits or lower) and the student is considered ‘part-time’. The government, however, looks at it a tiny bit differently.

The way the government qualifies a ‘full-time’ student is anyone who is taking 12 or more credits towards their degree. Therefore, if a student is only taking 6 credits, for example, towards their degree than the government considers them as ‘part-time’ students.

“When it says required for a ‘degree’ I mean anything you take that is required for a major/minor, electives too, or classes that count towards the general education program. Those all count,” continued Ciosek.

For example, if a student is taking 12 credits, half of which are for their major/minor/general education requirements and the other half are simply electives Springfield College will recognize them as a ‘full-time’ student but the government will only recognize them as ‘part-time’.

This is because not every course they are taking helps them to achieve their degree.

Credits and course selection are stressful enough as is, but knowing and understanding which courses are important and how they affect your loans makes a difference.

Although not strictly a Springfield College scenario, this kind of thing has the potential to affect every student or no students at all. It all depends on each student’s financial and credit situation.

It may not be something to stress over, but it is an important aspect of course selection to know when that fateful day comes again. Knowledge is power and, in this case, knowing how credits can affect your financial aid might just help in the long run.

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