Clock-to-Credit Hour Conversion


Financial aid form

The U.S. Department of Education has changed how credits are recognized for financial aid purposes for non-associate degree programs that do not fully transfer into an associate degree program. Wisconsin Technical College System students enrolled in a technical diploma that does not lead to an associate degree may not be eligible to receive full financial aid funding due to the new federal clock-to-credit hour conversion requirements.

The clock-to-credit hour conversion formula (the formula) determines if the program includes the minimum number of credit hours required to qualify as an eligible program for Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes. The formula also determines the number of financial aid credits associated with each class used to determine a student’s financial aid enrollment status each semester.

The formula only pertains to FSA financial aid, including Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and College Work Study. It does not affect State of Wisconsin financial aid, VA veterans education benefits, Wisconsin G.I. Bill, or scholarships.

How has the Formula Changed?

Previously, the formula required colleges to use a ratio of 37.5 in-class clock hours to each credit hour. Additionally, the college could include out-of-class hours in the calculation if the in-class hours met a ratio of 30 clock hours to every credit hour.

Under the new regulations, the formula no longer includes any out-of-class hours. The revised formula for determining the number of financial aid credits in each course is simply the total number of clock hours in the course divided by 30. The result is the course’s credits used for calculating financial aid eligibility.

Example: If a 2-credit hour course consists of 18 in-class clock hours and 36 lab clock hours, then the course includes a total of 54 clock hours (18 + 36 = 54). Using the formula, 54 is divided by 30, which equals 1.8. For financial aid purposes, the course is worth 1.8 credits.

(18 class clock hours + 36 lab clock hours)/30 = 54 clock hours/30 = 1.8 credits

Which Programs Are Impacted By This Change?

The formula must be used for any program that does not lead to an associate degree and does not transfer fully into an associate degree program at BTC.

The following programs are eligible for financial aid, but students in these programs may have reduced financial aid eligibility because of the formula.

Two-Year Technical Diploma programs:

  • CNC Technician (32-444-1)
  • HVAC/R (32-601-1)
  • Manufacturing Info Technology Specialist (32-631-1)

One-Year Technical Diploma programs:

  • Administrative Support Professional (31-106-3)*
  • Agribusiness Specialist (31-006-1)
  • Computer Service Technician (31-450-1)
  • Culinary Production Specialist (31-316-2)*
  • Dental Assistant (31-508-1)
  • Electrical Power Distribution (31-413-2)
  • Industrial Maintenance Mechanic (31-462-2)
  • Laboratory Science Technician Assistant (31-506-4)
  • Medical Assistant (31-509-1)
  • Welding (31-442-1)

The following programs are no longer eligible for financial aid based on the formula.

  • Phlebotomy Technician (30-513-1)

*Financial aid for all students in this program is prorated because it is less than 24 credits based on the formula.

What Should a Student Do With This Information?

Every student’s situation is unique. The formula doesn’t change financial aid eligibility for all courses in any program and will have varying impacts based on each student’s course schedule. Students should reach out to the Financial Aid Office each semester after registering for their courses to confirm their enrollment status for that semester. The Financial Aid Office can be reached at 608-757-7664 or
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