Facts & Figures About Financial Aid
Assistance with College Costs
Tuition Assistance Program
The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is the major source of New York State college aid. The state's Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) administers the TAP program and awards grants according to income. If you are a college student or a potential college student, you must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be obtained electronically at or from a high school guidance office, the local library, or a college's financial aid office.
Recipients of a TAP award must have graduated from high school, have a GED, or have demonstrated on a federally approved exam that the student can benefit from the education being offered. In order to continue receiving TAP awards, a student must achieve at least a cumulative "C" average after receipt of two annual TAP payments, which is usually after the second academic year.
Recipients of TAP awards also must:
* be attending college full time (at least 12 credits per semester or the equivalent of eight credits per quarter);
* be enrolled and in good academic standing in an approved program in New York;
* be charged at least $200 tuition per year;
* be a legal resident of New York State; and
* meet income eligibility limitations.
Students who are dependent, are married, or have tax dependents have an income limitation of $80,000 if they attend an undergraduate, degree-granting institution and of $20,000 if they are in a graduate program. Single, independent students with no dependents have an income limitation of $10,000 if they attend an undergraduate, degree-granting institution and $5,666 if they are in a graduate program.
The amount of TAP awards vary based on factors which include:
* academic year in which the first payment of TAP or any state award is received;
* type of post secondary institution and the tuition charged;
* financial status (dependent or independent); and
* other family members who are enrolled in college.
The TAP award range for undergraduate students attending a degree-granting institution is between $500 and $5000 for those who are dependent, are married, or have tax dependents and between $500 and $3,025 for those who are single and independent with no dependents. In contrast, the award range for all graduate students is from $75 to $550.
Tuition Awards for Part-time Students
The Aid for Part-time Students (APTS) program provides grants for persons who, for a variety of reasons (such as time and/or money), cannot attend college full-time. The APTS program awards up to $2,000 annually for part-time undergraduate study at participating institutions within New York State. To be eligible, a part-time student must:
* be a New York State resident and a U.S. citizen (or a qualifying non-citizen);
* be a high school graduate, or have a GED;
* enroll as a matriculated student in an approved undergraduate degree program (or registered certificate program) at a degree-granting institution within New York State;
* be enrolled for at least three but fewer than 12 credits per semester, or for at least four but fewer than eight credits per quarter;
* have a tuition charge of at least $100 per year;
* have a family NYS taxable income of $50,550 or less, or for single emancipated students, have a NYS taxable income of $34,250 or less;
* not be in default on a Federal Family Education Loan, and not have used up TAP eligibility; and *maintain good academic standing, as determined by the college.
To apply for APTS, students must obtain an application from their collegeí financial aid office and return it to the college as soon as possible, as funds are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each collegeís financial aid administrator will select recipients based on available funds and studentsí needs, with the intent to assist those who would otherwise be unable to pursue a college education.
Tuition Aid for Veterans, Military Members and Their Children
Military Service Recognition Scholarship (MSRS) provides financial aid to children, spouses and financial dependents of members of the armed forces of the United States or state organized militia who, at any time on or after Aug. 2, 1990, while New York State residents, died or became severely and permanently disabled while engaged in hostilities or training for hostilities. (The MSRS is also available to members of the armed forces of the United States or state organized militia who meet the same requirements.)
MSRS covers up to four years of full-time undergraduate study (or five years for certain programs). It provides funds equal to SUNY four-year college tuition and mandatory educational fees (or student's actual tuition and fees, whichever is less) and allowances for room and board, books and transportation. Applications for the MSRS are available through HESC.
Vietnam and Persian Gulf veterans who meet certain New York State residency requirements and who are enrolled in approved vocational, undergraduate, and graduate programs are eligible for this special student aid. The maximum grant for full-time students per semester is $1,000 or tuition cost, whichever is less. The maximum grant for part-time students who are enrolled in at least three semester hours is $500 a semester. The maximum total grant a veteran can receive is $10,000.
A veteran must file an application with HESC and also must apply for a Federal Pell Grant and a TAP award if going to school full-time before the amount of this special student aid can be determined. Contact the local county veterans' service agency (CV) for more information.
Awards for Children of Veterans provide $450 annual awards to those students whose
parent(s) served in the U.S. armed forces during one of numerous specified periods of war (or national emergency), and whose parent now is 40% or more disabled, is missing in action, is a deceased veteran, or was a prisoner of war. The veteran must currently be a New York State resident or have been a resident at the time of death. An eligible student receives the award annually for up to four academic years, or five years for certain programs of study.
The NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs Recruitment Incentive and Retention Program (RIRP) is a program designed to recruit and retain quality members for the State Military Forces (Army and Air National Guard, and Naval Militia). This competitive program pays the cost of tuition up to a maximum of $3,400 per calendar year for eligible qualified applicants. There are other benefits that members may qualify for including the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which would provide an additional monthly stipend to college students, and ROTC Scholarships. Visit the web site www.dmna.state.ny.us or contact HESC for more information.
The children and spouses of police officers, firefighters and volunteer firefighters, peace officers (including correction officers) and Emergency Medical Service Workers who have died as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty, are eligible for Memorial Scholarships for Families of Deceased Police Officers, Firefighters and Peace Officers, and Emergency Medical Service Workers. These Memorial Scholarships equal the average cost of attendance at SUNY, including tuition, room and board, transportation and books. Students may receive this scholarship for four years (or five years for certain programs) of undergraduate study at any SUNY, CUNY or private college in New York State.
The New York State World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship guarantees access to a college education for:
* children, spouses and financial dependents of deceased or severely and permanently disabled victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States including victims at the
World Trade Center site, the Pentagon or on flights 11, 77, 93, or 175;
* children, spouses and financial dependents of deceased or severely and permanently disabled rescue and recovery operations personnel; and
* survivors of the terrorist attacks who are severely and permanently disabled as a result of injuries sustained in the attacks or rescue and recovery operations.
Applications for these awards are available through HESC. Applicants must also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as an Express TAP Application (ETA).
Regents and Other Scholarships
The New York State Scholarship for Academic Excellence offers 8,000 awards to recent high school graduates who had outstanding academic performance. Top graduating scholars are eligible for a $1,500 annual award for four (or five) years of full-time undergraduate study at a college in New York State; there are 2,000 of these available each year. The other 6,000 awards at $500 per year are available for other outstanding high school graduates. Eligibility is based on certain Regents exam grades. Interested students should speak to their high school guidance counselors.
The Regents Physician Loan Forgiveness Program provides 80 awards each year of $10,000 per year or the total of undergraduate and medical school student loan expense, whichever is less, for up to four years. This is available to physicians who agree to practice medicine in a designated physician shortage area for at least two years for each award received.
The Regents Health Care Opportunity Scholarships are for economically disadvantaged and under-represented minority students studying in an approved program for medicine or dentistry. It provides $10,000 per year for up to four academic years. For each annual payment received, recipients agree to practice medicine or dentistry for one year in a designated shortage area within New York State. Recipients who do not fulfill this service obligation must pay back twice the Regents' award amount, plus interest.
The Regents Professional Opportunity Scholarships are for economically disadvantaged and under-represented minority students pursuing degrees in a profession licensed by the Regents or other field designated by the Regents. These scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 per year, depending on income. This award also requires a service obligation of one year's work as a licensed professional for each annual payment received.
Other scholarships available to New York State residents include:
* Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship
* State Aid to Native Americans
* AmeriCorps Educational Award
* Volunteer Recruitment Service Scholarships for Volunteer Fire & and Ambulance Recruits
* NYS Lottery - Leaders of Tomorrow
* NYS Child Care Educational Incentive Program
For more information on these and other scholarships, contact HESC at 1-888-NYSHESC, or visit their web site at
This grant program for both part-time and full-time undergraduate students is funded and administered by the federal government. The grants may be used for tuition and other education costs such as room and board. Awards depend on college costs, and eligibility is based on family income, family size and number of college students in a family. Currently, the maximum Pell Grant is $4,050. Apply for the Federal Pell Grant on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form available at your high school or college.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs are administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Not all schools participate in all these programs. Check with your schoolís financial aid office to find out in which programs they participate. Unlike the Federal Pell Grant Program, which provides funds to every eligible student, these campus-based programs provide a set amount of funds for each participating school each year. When the money for a program is gone, no more awards can be made from that program for that year. So, make sure you apply for federal student aid as early as you can. Each school sets its own deadlines for campus-based funds, and those deadlines are usually earlier than the deadline for filing a FAFSA.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest estimated family contributions (EFCs) will be the first to get FSEOGs. Just like Pell Grants, FSEOGs donít have to be paid back.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipientís course of study.
Loans for Students and Parents
The Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the Federal Direct Loan Program offer financial loans to pay a student's college expenses (tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation). Loans under either program have the same terms and conditions, but differ in who lends the money.
Under FFEL, private lenders such as banks, credit unions and savings and loan associations make the loans; under the Direct Loan Program, the federal government makes loans directly to students and parents through the colleges.
A student may borrow from either program, depending on the one in which his/her college participates. The different loans (mentioned below) generally have lower interest rates than most other personal loans; however, these rates will vary depending on the type of loan and other variables such as the terms available at the time the loan is secured. Contact your college's financial aid office for more information.
Stafford loans are loans for students in full-time or half-time study and are guaranteed by HESC. Banks and other private lending institutions offer these loans, and schools are making these loans directly to students. Stafford Loans are repayable in installments starting six months after leaving school or dropping below half-time status. The amount borrowed in any year cannot be greater than the applicant's total educational cost minus other student financial aid and the family's contribution.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are available to all students, regardless of income. The loan limits and interest are the same as Stafford Loans. However, students must pay the interest while attending school and during deferment periods. Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to begin application for these loans.
The Parent Loan for Students (PLUS) program allows parents to borrow money, with no income restrictions, for each child attending a college or vocational school. PLUS loans also are guaranteed by HESC. Parents may borrow up to the cost of education, minus other financial aid received. In other words, the yearly amount borrowed cannot exceed the actual educational cost. Loan repayments must begin within 60 days of disbursement with up to 10 years to repay. To apply, obtain a PLUS loan application from your local lender, from the college, or from HESC.
Other Federal Loans
Perkins Loans are lower interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students with greater financial need. The college financial aid office acts as the "bank" for these loans, and the loan amount is determined by the college, within federal limits. The current annual maximum is $4,000. Repayment of the amount borrowed plus interest begins nine months after you leave school. Apply for these loans at your college financial aid office.
Health Professions Student Loans are federal loans available to students in certain health professions attending participating independent and public institutions. These loans make available student financial assistance beyond the grants and loans from state, federal and private sources when students demonstrate remaining financial need. The maximum amount of this loan will not exceed the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. Contact your college financial aid office for more information.
Many students finance their education by taking out more than one loan and often from different lenders. When college is completed, making large monthly loan payments can be a financial strain, and writing checks to various lenders can be time-consuming.
The federal government offers Consolidation Loans that allow borrowers to combine several educational loans into one new loan and take more time to repay it. Under this program, you have between 10 and 30 years to repay the consolidated loan plus the interest. Obtain an application for a consolidation loan through the education loan lenders who participate in the program, or contact HESC.
For additional information and applications, you may contact HESC's Grants and Scholarships Unit at the address and telephone number listed below.
* 1-800-445-5234 (TDD)
New York State Higher Education Services Corporation
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12255