Q: Is federal financial aid available for taking basic skills or remedial courses at a college or university?
A: Whether federal financial aid is available for basic skills or remedial coursework is dependent on a number of different factors. According to the Department of Education Federal Student Aid Handbook, if a student is admitted into an eligible program and takes remedial coursework within that program, he can be considered a regular student, even if he is taking all remedial courses before taking any regular courses. A campus may count up to one academic year’s worth of these courses (e.g. a total of 30 semester units) in his enrollment status for federal aid. A remedial course cannot be below the educational level needed for a student to successfully pursue her program after one year in that course. Also, remedial courses must be at least at the high school level and cannot be leading to a high school diploma or equivalent. Each campus must also have a policy regarding how remedial coursework is considered for the purposes of determining Satisfactory Academic Progress to qualify for ongoing federal aid eligibility. It is recommended that students consult with the financial aid office at their institution to determine eligibility based on their specific circumstances.