Preparatory Coursework for Transferring to a Four Year Institution | ECTC

Preparatory Coursework for Transferring to a Four Year Institution

Preparatory coursework refers to courses that a student is required to take in order to be officially admitted into an eligible degree program at that institution. Applicants who need to take preparatory coursework at a KCTCS college prior to being eligible for final admission into a degree program at a four-year university may use their state (CAP, KEES), institutional, and limited federal funds (excluding federal grants) for preparatory coursework that are not applicable to their current program.

Admission to the college/institution is not the same as being admitted to an eligible program of study. A student might be admitted to the college/institution but not meet admissions requirements for a particular academic program. The courses a student takes to meet the admissions requirements to be accepted are considered preparatory coursework.

A student taking preparatory coursework must work with a financial aid officer at their KCTCS home institution to determine eligibility. The financial aid office will be able to advise them on whether they will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Enrollment Requirements

  • The student must be enrolled in preparatory coursework REQUIRED FOR ADMISSION to a regular undergraduate/professional degree program.
  • Student must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) - if qualified and receiving Federal funds.
  • Only those courses REQUIRED for admission may be considered when determining enrollment level and student aid eligibility.

Coursework that DOES qualify as Preparatory Coursework:

  • The student who needs pre-requisites or other specific coursework to be admitted to a program at a four-year institution. The student can be in one of the three statuses:
    1. Completed a degree at KCTCS and is seeking admission to another program, or
    2. Not completing a program at KCTCS and is seeking admission to a program of study,
    3. Admitted to a program at KCTCS and wants to be admitted to another program at KCTCS may qualify for Preparatory Coursework.
    4. 2+2 Program Coursework that is outside of the student’s current program required for admission to the 4-Year Institution

The required specific pre-requisite coursework for that program can be taken at KCTCS and is considered preparatory coursework for students in the above three enrollment statuses.

  • The student is admitted to another institution but NOT to the program and is required to take pre-requisites or other coursework to be admitted to the specific program at the institution and cannot be accepted to the program without these courses

The required pre-requisite or other coursework for that program can be taken at KCTCS and is considered preparatory coursework.

Example 1

Jon has been admitted to UK but has not yet been admitted to the program of study (Engineering) because he needs to take preparatory classes. He wants to enroll in the program at UK, but cannot be admitted to the program because he still lacks 12 credit hours of specific coursework to meet the program’s admissions requirements. Because of this requirement, his financial aid made up of state grants, institutional scholarships may be applied to charges related to the 12 credit hours. He may also be eligible for undergraduate federal award (excluding federal grants and federal work-study) for preparatory coursework for up to 12 months.

Note: To be eligible, Jon must be taking classes that are a prerequisite for admission. If he is only taking them to raise his GPA, he would not qualify.

Example 2

Mary is enrolled in a 2+2 program with KCTCS and NKU. To complete the 2-year program at KCTCS, she needs 60 credit hours. To transfer into the 2-year program at NKU, she will need 9 additional credit hours that are not applicable to her program. These courses are considered preparatory coursework because she needs these to be accepted into the 2-year program at NKU.

Coursework that DOES NOT qualify as Preparatory Coursework:

  • A student who is only taking prerequisite courses to raise his or her GPA in order to be admitted
  • Courses taken outside of a student’s current KCTCS eligible program of study that is not required for admission to the program of study at a four-year institution they wish to transfer into
  • Transfer courses for a program the student is currently admitted to
  • Dual enrollment coursework
  • Coursework for a student enrolled in a program of study at another institution who desires to take additional coursework at KCTCS and the coursework is taken to give them a better chance to get into the program in the case of selective admissions


Jane is attending UK. She earned an AS from KCTCS, and she wants to return to her KCTCS home college to prepare to enter UK’s engineering school. Her KCTCS home college has a Pathway available whereby students are required to take very particular math and science courses as electives considered to be pre-requisites to this program. Jane took these classes at a KCTCS Home College, she was considered a non-degree visiting student, but because she had not only been admitted to UK, and she had also been accepted in the Engineering program at UK, this coursework does NOT qualify under the federal Preparatory Coursework rule and Jane would not be able to receive financial aid for these courses at KCTCS.

Please note: The student may qualify to receive financial aid for the courses taken at KCTCS under a consortium agreement with UK. In this scenario, Jane would work with her UK Financial Aid Office to receive her financial aid at UK for the KCTCS course credits.


The student’s KCTCS advisor may want to assist the student in collecting reasonable documentation to have the student return to the student’s KCTCS Home College Financial Aid Office for aid eligibility and determination.

The Financial Aid Preparatory Coursework Form will need to be completed by an advisor, along with documentation. The student must submit the reasonable documentation that clearly supports the following:

  • The courses are required for admission to the program in an undergraduate/professional program, and
  • A list of the specific courses must be provided that are required for admission

Documentation: This documentation could be one or more of the following, but is not limited to:

  • Letter from the 4-year Institution the student wishes to be accepted to that outlines the courses required for admission, or
  • Institution catalog page indicating course requirement for admission to the program, or
  • Institutional Program Agreements - Transfer agreement, or 2+2 program documenting the additional hours and courses outside of the student’s current program required for admission
  • Current Student, please note: If you are a current KCTCS student, you may submit a letter or FA Preparatory Coursework Form completed by your KCTCS advisor indicating courses required to be accepted into a KCTCS program

Important Note to Advisors and Registrars:

Preparatory coursework should NOT receive an override in PeopleSoft for program applicability. Students approved for preparatory coursework are not eligible for federal grants and if an override is given for program applicability, the student may automatically receive additional federal grants they are NOT eligible for, resulting in an over-award.

Consideration for financial aid is based on each student’s individual situation so it is very important that the Academic Advisor does not advise on anything that is not in the information sheets. When the financial aid office receives reasonable documentation from the other school, the student’s Home College Financial Aid Office will review each individual student’s information and manually award the student as appropriate.

What does the advisor do?
If a student falls into the situation described on this information sheet, the advisor or registrar should:

  • Provide the student with a copy of the Preparatory Coursework Student FAQ
  • Assist the student to provide reasonable documentation outlined in this document, and
  • Advise the student to return the documentation to their local financial aid office at their KCTCS Home College
  • Advise any currently enrolled students that once the financial aid office approves their preparatory coursework, it would be wise to take these courses while they are still enrolled in their current KCTCS program.