Skip to main contentSkip to footer content

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
Required Coursework

This notice is intended to alert all students of important regulations that could impact eligibility for Federal and New York State financial aid. It is crucial that you are aware of these rules as you plan your registration each semester. Additional details can be found in the Financial Aid Handbook (available in the Financial Aid Office). Questions can be directed to

Required Coursework Regulations

Federal and New York State financial aid eligibility can only be calculated based on courses that are specifically required for the student’s degree and primary major. Note – minor coursework is typically not considered required. A student enrolled in fewer than 12 credits of required coursework in any term could lose financial aid eligibility or have amounts reduced accordingly.

Course Enrollment Levels Required to Maintain Aid Eligibility

Full-time enrollment, typically 12 or more credits, is the easiest way to remain eligible for all sources of aid. Students enrolled less-than-full-time may still have limited aid eligibility on a pro-rated basis. Minimum enrollment levels for each type of aid are as follows:

Aid Source Minimum Enrollment Requirement
Federal Aid (student & parent loans, work-study, supplemental grants) 6 credits
Federal Aid (pell grant) 1 credit
NY State Aid (TAP, STEM, Tuition Credit, and all other NY awards) 12 credits


What is a Required Course?

A course is typically considered required if it is meeting one of the requirements listed in the College Catalog for the student’s degree program and will lead to credits earned within the specified number needed to obtain the degree. Students should carefully review their plan sheets each semester to be sure that courses are filling one of the available course requirement spaces.

How will my aid be adjusted if I am not taking enough required courses?

Enrollment reviews are completed following the deadline to drop a course at the end of the 4th week each semester. Students who have received aid funds for which they were not eligible will be required to return those funds to the College at that time. Students are highly encouraged to communicate with the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible if they will be registered for less than 12 required credits. Aid will be removed or reduced based on each student’s enrollment level. Students will be notified of these adjustments with an electronic notice and the online aid package will be updated accordingly. Any funds owed back to the College will appear automatically on the ESF semester bill.

Exceptions and Special Cases

As with any regulation, there are certain special cases and exceptions that can be considered:

  • Minors – courses that meet a requirement for a minor are not considered eligible for aid unless the minor is specifically required for the major degree.
  • Dual Majors – only courses required for the primary major are eligible for NY State aid. Federal aid eligibility for grants ends once the primary major requirements are complete. Loans may still be available after that point.
  • Repeat Courses – failed courses may be repeated once and count as required for NY State aid, and as many times as necessary for Federal aid. Note that academic progress requirements would still apply however.
  • Final Term Only – a student needing fewer than 12 required credits may take additional coursework that is not required in order to reach full-time enrollment and maintain eligibility for NY State aid. There is no similar provision for Federal aid.
  • Change of Major – changing a major early in a semester could impact aid eligibility. To prevent any problems, do not change your major during the first four weeks of the semester.

Helpful Hints

  • Always try to enroll in at least 12 credits of required coursework each semester.
  • Plan to take courses that are not required during a semester in which you are already taking 12 required credits.
  • Contact the Financial Aid Office immediately if you will not be able to take 12 or more required credits in a semester.

Last updated on March 9, 2017