Chapter 2: Student Eligibility Requirements for Aid for Part-time Study

To be eligible for an APTS award a student must:

  • Be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • Be a legal resident of New York State.
  • Have graduated from a high school in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma through Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), formally known as GED, or passed a federally approved "Ability to Benefit" test as defined by the Commissioner of the State Education Department.
  • Be enrolled as a part-time student.
  • Be matriculated in an approved program of study in a participating New York State postsecondary institution.
  • Be in good academic standing: Have achieved at least a cumulative "C" average after having received the equivalent of two full years of payment of state-sponsored student financial aid.
  • Be charged at least $100 tuition per year.
  • Not have exhausted Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) eligibility.
  • Not be in default on a federal or State student loan or on any repayment of state awards.
  • Meet income eligibility limitations.

 

2.1 Citizenship

A student must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien, or refugee to receive State sponsored financial aid. HESC has adopted federal citizenship guidelines as the criteria for State sponsored financial aid. Students will be considered to have fulfilled the citizenship requirement if they meet citizenship requirements for federal programs. 
For details review the federal citizenship requirements

HESC should be notified if the school has any information that would cast doubt on an award recipient's ability to meet the citizenship requirement. 

2.2 New York State Residency Requirements

Eligibility for APTS awards is limited to students who meet New York State residency requirements. 

Institutional Responsibility
In determining if a student meets New York State residency requirements, the APTS coordinator should be aware of on-campus information that might reflect on a student's residency.

Schools must review eligibility for state awards for any student whose New York State residency is questionable. In many cases, the review will be simple and the school will need only to document the decision. Cases that cannot be determined by college officials should be forwarded to the APTS Administrator at HESC. The school can print a Residency Questionnaire from HescWeb’s Forms for Financial Aid Professionals and give to the student to complete. Schools should refrain from taking any selection or certification activity until the student's residency has been determined. 

Schools should develop procedures to record the state in which the student attended and graduated from high school. Students who are not New York State high school graduates should not be selected for APTS until some review of their records, either by the school or HESC, is complete. It is expected that schools will review residency eligibility and make appropriate determinations before forwarding to HESC for review. 

Legal Residence 
In order to be eligible for an APTS award, a recipient must have been a legal resident of New York State for at least one year preceding the term for which aid is requested, or, if not a resident for one year preceding the term for which aid is requested, a recipient must be a legal resident at the time of application and have been a legal resident for the last two semesters of high school.

The legal residence of a recipient who is claimed by a parent, stepparent or adoptive parent as a dependent for income tax purposes shall be considered to be that of the person so claiming, unless the recipient can establish to the satisfaction of the president that a separate legal residence within New York State has been established. Residence in a college-owned housing facility shall not, in itself, establish a separate legal residence.

Legal residence within New York State must be maintained for the entire academic period for which an award is made. 

Legal Residence Requirement for Members of the Armed Forces, their spouses and Dependents
HESC presumes the student meets the residency requirement, if the student was a legal resident of New York State when he/she entered into the service and has maintained that legal residence while in the service. 

HESC presumes the student meets the residency requirement, if the student is the spouse or dependent of a member of the armed forces who is a legal resident of New York State but is stationed out of state, regardless of how long the member of military has been absent from New York State while on active duty. 

The residency requirement is waived, effective with the 2005-06 academic year and thereafter, if the student is a member of the armed forces who is not a legal resident of New York State but who is stationed on full-time active duty in New York State. To qualify for the waiver, the student must submit official documentation confirming full-time active duty status and duty station

The residency requirement is waived, effective with the 2005-06 academic year and thereafter, if the student is the spouse or dependent of a member of the armed forces who is not a legal resident of New York State but who is stationed on full-time active duty in New York State. The student must submit official documentation confirming both the full-time active duty status and duty station of the member of the armed forces and the student's status as spouse or dependent of that person.

Duration of Residency 
Nonresidents who begin full-time or part-time study in New York State during their first year of residing in New York State are not generally eligible for state sponsored student aid, even though they may have resided in New York State for 12 or more months. 

Veterans or former National Service Volunteers who were legal residents of New York State upon entry into the service can meet the 12-month requirement if they re-establish legal residency within six months of release from active duty, regardless of how long they were absent from New York State and regardless of legal residencies established elsewhere. 

Students who were residents of New York State before meeting citizenship requirements are considered to meet New York State residency requirements for any term of study beginning after they have met citizenship requirements if they have been residents of the state for at least 12 months. 

Loss of Residency
New York State residency is lost when the student discontinues permanent legal residence in the state. The student is ineligible to receive any state sponsored financial aid award that requires New York State residency for any term of study beginning after residency is lost. 

No award may be made for any term subsequent to the term in which a recipient discontinues permanent New York residence. 

2.3 High School Graduation Requirement

To be eligible for any state-sponsored grant or scholarship award, students who first receive aid in: 

a. academic year 1996-97 to academic year 2006-07 must have:

  • a high school diploma, or
  • the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma (e.g., GED), or
  • a passing score as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Education on a federally approved ability-to-benefit test.

b. academic year 2006-07, must have:

  • a U.S. high school diploma, or
  • the recognized equivalent, or
  • a passing score on a federally approved ability-to-benefit test independently administered and evaluated as provided by the NYS Commissioner of Education.

c. academic year 2007-08 and thereafter, must have:

  • a U.S. high school diploma, or
  • the recognized equivalent, or
  • a passing score on a federally approved ability-to-benefit test identified by the NYS Board of Regents and independently administered and evaluated by the Commissioner of Education.

 

2.4 Income

Applicants must meet one of the following income limits:

  • The student was claimed, or was eligible to be claimed, as a dependent on their parent’s Federal or State tax return for the preceding calendar year (i.e. 2010 tax year for awards made during the 2011-12 academic year), and the NYS net taxable income plus any state, local or federal pension and any private pension and annuity* income of the parents, student and, if married, student’s spouse did not exceed $50,550.
  • The student was not eligible to be claimed as a dependent on their parents’ Federal or State tax return for the preceding calendar year and the NYS net taxable income plus any state, local or federal pension and any private pension and annuity* income of the student and, if married, student’s spouse did not exceed $34,250.
  • The student was not eligible to be claimed as a tax dependent by their parents, but was eligible to claim tax dependents of their own, other than a spouse, the net taxable income plus any state, local or federal pension and any private pension and annuity* income of student, and if married, students spouse did not exceed $50,550.


*Private pension and annuity amounts are to be included in the calculation of income used for determining APTS award eligibility.

Note: Net Taxable Income refers to that portion of income on which tax is payable after relevant exemptions and deductions have been taken into consideration, as reported on the appropriate New York State Income Tax Return. Individuals are required to report income, including income earned from outside NYS, on their APTS application regardless of whether they filed Federal or State taxes, unless the income is not considered taxable by NYS law.

Exclusion of Income 
The income of a parent or student’s spouse may be excluded in the case of death, divorce or legal separation which occurred on or before December 31st of the tax year on which an award is based. The income may be excluded even if the student was claimed as a tax dependent by the parent or spouse.

For exclusion of income based on parents legal separation or divorce; the income of the non-custodial parent can be excluded, but any support payments made by non-custodial parent must be added to the net taxable income reported to determine if the student meets income eligibility requirements.

Prorating Income 
The income of a parent or student’s spouse for the tax year on which an award is based may be prorated in the case of death, divorce, separation, or permanent and total disability which occurs after December 31st of the base tax year.

Income must be reported for a parent or student’s spouse where death, legal separation, divorce or permanent and total physical or mental disability occurred after the end of the tax year. The income is prorated using the following formula:

ProratingIncomeFormula400 80

Base year NTI is the NYS net taxable income earned in the tax year preceding the academic year for which an award is requested.

Number of Month’s Status Unchanged is the number of months from January preceding the start of the academic year up to and including the month in which the event occurred. It is a measure of time during which the base year net taxable income was available for the benefit of the applicant. 

2.5 Loan Default

The student must not be in default of any student loan guaranteed by HESC.

Determination of Default Status 
HESC will review loan repayment history of all award recipients and will identify those students in default on Federal or State-made student loans. The records of HESC are determinative with respect to default status. A student whose loan has been purchased by HESC is in default unless the student has cleared the default, or by paying the loan in full, or has loan repurchased by a lender.

Clearing Default Status 
HESC will reprocess students denied an award because of loan default if the loan default is cleared by June 30. Students whose loan default is cleared afterJune 30 will not be eligible for an award for any term of the academic year when they were in loan default status. 

Renewed Eligibility for Financial Aid (REFA)
Students in default on a loan may be eligible for state grant awards including an APTS award if the student has made six consecutive satisfactory voluntarily monthly loan repayments at the time the recipients list is processed by HESC and the student continues to make scheduled monthly repayments.

Other types of multiple payments by the student to make up for missed payments or lump sum payments, which equal six monthly payments, but do not result in the loan balance being repaid, do not result in renewed eligibility.

Students whose defaulted loans are in judgment or bankruptcy proceedings are not eligible for REFA.

Students are not required to fill out REFA applications. If the student submitted for an APTS award satisfies the requirements for REFA, HESC will approve and reprocess for an award. These students will be on an updated Roster of Recipients. Students who have not met the requirements will not be eligible for an award for that term. 

2.6 Matriculated Status

The student must be matriculated in an approved undergraduate degree program or registered certificate program. Matriculated students must declare a major by the beginning of the junior year in a baccalaureate program and by the sophomore year in a two-year program. 

2.7 Part-time Status

The student must be enrolled for at least 3, but less than 12 credits per semester; or at least 4, but less than 8 credits per trimester or the equivalent as defined by the Commissioner of Education of the State of New York.

  • Term Course Load – The student’s part-time course load may consist of both credit bearing and non-credit remedial courses. Section 145-2.1 of The Regulations of the Commissioner of Education permits a portion of a student’s part-time course load to consist of non-credit remedial work on an hour-for-hour equivalent basis pursuant to the definition of semester hour in 8 NYCRR § 50.1(o) of The Regulations…. A student carrying a part-time course load, which includes non-credit remedial courses, shall carry at least 3 semester hours of credit-bearing work.

 

2.8 Good Academic Standing (GAS)

To receive APTS the student must be in good academic standing (GAS) as defined in Section 145-2.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. GAS comprises two components: Pursuit of Program (POP) and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The State Education Department details GAS for part-time study in CEO memorandum #84-8, Guidelines On Aid For Part-time Study, (revised October, 1995). 

Pursuit of Program 
The Pursuit element of GAS expects the student to make an effort to complete the coursework undertaken pursuant to a State award. To satisfy POP, a student must earn a passing or failing grade in a percentage of the minimum course-load in each term an award is received. The percentage increases from 50% of the minimum part-time load in each term of the first year an award is received, to 75% of the minimum part-time load in each term of the second year, to 100% of the minimum part-time load in each term thereafter. The pursuit requirement remains a continuous measure of a student’s achievement.

For example, in a semester-based school, in each of the first two semesters for which a part-time student receives APTS, the student must receive a grade (passing or failing) in at least one and one-half semester hours or 50% of the minimum part-time courseload. During the third and fourth semesters a part-time award is received, the student must complete at least two semester hours or 75 % of the minimum part-time courseload. Thereafter, the student must receive a passing or failing grade in at least three semester hours, or 100% of the minimum part-time courseload.

Satisfactory Academic Progress 
Satisfactory Academic Progress is a measure of the student’s achievement (credits earned).
To make satisfactory academic progress the student must earn/successfully complete a minimum number of semester hours of credit with a minimum grade point average in accordance with the school’s standard of progress that has been approved by the Commissioner of Education. A change in legislation in 2006 created a uniform chart used to determine a student’s satisfactory academic progress. These requirements must be met in each term an award is received. For APTS, students have two semesters to meet the Standard of Academic Progress requirements that full-time students must meet in one semester. 

NOTE: Effective for the 2010-11 academic year and thereafter, New York State Education Law requires a non-remedial student, whose first award year is in 2010--11 and thereafter, must meet new standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Non-remedial students whose first year is 2007-08 through 2009-10 must meet the SAP requirements enacted in 2006. Those meeting the definition of "remedial student" are not subject to the new SAP standards, but will use the requirements established in 2006. The law enacted in 2006 mandated minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving their first State award in academic year 2006-07 year. 

Select TAP Coach - Satisfactory Academic Progress to view the requirements.

Note: Awards received count against a student’s total award eligibility for undergraduate tuition support (4 academic years, unless enrolled in an approved 5-year program); whether a student receives APTS or TAP or a combination during the student’s undergraduate studies, all awards draw on the student’s maximum eligibility under Education Law. As an example, a student enrolled in a four-year undergraduate program at a semester-based institution can receive up to sixteen semesters of part-time awards. 

Loss of Good Academic Standing 
If a student loses good academic standing for any term in which an award was paid, the student loses eligibility for an award for the subsequent term.

Reinstatement of Good Academic Standing 
A student who loses good academic standing may have it restored using one of the following
four (4) ways:

  • Make up past academic deficiencies without receiving of APTS or other State awards.
  • Be readmitted to school after an absence of at least 6 months (comparable to one calendar year of full-time).
  • Transfer to another school.
  • Be granted a one-time undergraduate waiver of the good academic standing requirement.


Waiver of Good Academic Standing Requirement
Regulations of the Commissioner of Education permit an undergraduate student to receive a one-time waiver of good academic standing requirements if there are extenuating circumstances, which would justify the granting of such a waiver. 

Schools are required to publish criteria under which this waiver will be granted and must adhere to these criteria when granting waivers. Schools are required to discuss the waiver with the student prior to granting one. It is important to bear in mind that the granting of a waiver is not automatic and must be done in accordance with the school’s published criteria. The improper granting of waivers can result in audit disallowances against the school.

The single waiver may be used for either a full-time or a part-time award. Particular consideration should be given to whether granting the one-time waiver for a part-time award is the most effective use of the waiver provision. HESC maintains a record of all waivers granted and preprints a “W” on the Institutional Roster of Recipients List for students previously granted a waiver. These students may not be granted additional waivers. The Reconciliation Report generated after the processing of the certified roster will have a “W” printed in the waiver column.

2.9 APTS Award Amount

The maximum annual award payable to a student cannot exceed $2,000 or tuition, whichever is less. The maximum term award amount cannot exceed $1000 or tuition, whichever is less at schools on a semester calendar; or $666.66 or tuition, whichever is less at schools on a trimester/quarter calendar. 

The amount of the student’s award is determined by the participating school and will depend on such factors as student’s need and the school’s allocation of funds and total number of eligible part-time students. Schools must waive a portion of the tuition in the amount equal to the award for each recipient. 

2.10 Duration of Award

APTS awards reduce a student’s total award eligibility for the Tuition Assistance Program. Both TAP and APTS payment points count against a student’s maximum eligibility for undergraduate State tuition support. Students who have exhausted their TAP eligibility cannot receive an APTS award. 

2.11 Payment Points

Student may receive up to eight years (16 semesters), a maximum 48 payment points, for part-time undergraduate study. EOP, HEOP, CD or SEEK students may receive up to 10 years (20 semesters), a maximum 60 payment points, for part-time undergraduate study.

Students who receive an APTS award use one half of a full term of eligibility. The payment points will be charged as follows:

  • Three (3) payment points for any term award made at a school operating on a semester calendar
  • Two (2) payment points for any term award made at a school operating on a trimester/quarter calendar.

 

2.12 Duplication of Award

A duplicative benefit is an award that duplicates the purpose of another award. Duplicative benefits are those that duplicate the purpose of TAP, STAP, APTS, or Veterans Tuition Awards—i.e., tuition awards. (They have no effect on other State programs.) The total of TAP, STAP, APTS, and/or Veterans Tuition Awards and the duplicate benefit cannot exceed the student’s tuition liability. When other benefits are duplicative, the TAP, STAP, APTS, and/or Veterans Tuition Awards are reduced accordingly. 

A tuition award for APTS may not exceed the amount by which the tuition, exclusive of educational fees, payable by the student exceeds the total of all other state, federal, school or other educational aid. Student can not receive Part-time TAP or Accelerated TAP or APTS for the same term. However, an APTS recipient may also receive the Veterans Tuition Award, but the combination of both awards cannot exceed the student’s tuition.