Reduced Course Loads: A Case Study on Financial Aid Eligibility

Date Updated


Sam is a sophomore with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He is having difficulty managing a full-time preengineering course load. He does not have enough time to keep up with all of his courses.

Access Issue

Sam wants to take a reduced course load but needs to remain eligible for financial assistance and campus housing. He was told by student services staff that he would be ineligible for financial aid and campus housing if he was not registered as a full-time student.


The disabled student services counselor explained that, with the support of disabled student services, Sam could request to take a reduced credit load and still be considered for financial aid. The counselor helped Sam complete the required university procedure to request a reduced credit load due to a disability. Sam completed the process with the support of disabled student services and was able to continue his part-time studies and remain eligible for financial aid, although at a reduced level and for a limited amount of time. Working with disabled student services and the housing office, Sam was also able to remain in the residence hall.


This case study illustrates the following:

  1. Part-time course loads may be an important accommodation for some students with disabilities, particularly during terms when they are enrolled in difficult courses.
  2. Students with disabilities may be eligible for financial aid and housing, even if they are not taking a full-time credit load, when appropriate documentation is completed.
  3. Financial aid and housing staff and administrators should be aware of special procedures, documentation, and accommodations for students with disabilities.