Grants and Scholarships - STEM Questions and Answers

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What certification code should be used for students on a STEM roster who have max TAP/STC (and therefore no STEM money) so the student does not incur the service commitment? 
 
Schools will need to certify the student with a code 1 – eligible even if the student is not receiving an actual STEM award.  
The student incurs the five year service commitment if they receive one STEM award or eight STEM awards.

If a student has a GPA  below 2.5 after the fall (first term), are schools obligated to defer against STEM for spring even though there is reason to believe that the student will not meet the cumulative 2.5 GPA requirement after spring?

Yes.  If the student is below a 2.5 for the first semester, but the cumulative GPA at the end of the academic year is a 2.5 or higher, the student retains this award.  If the cumulative GPA at the end of the academic year is below a 2.5, this award must be returned to HESC.

Would a STEM recipient who is not yet required to declare a major and has more than one “intended” major noted in the academic record (e.g. Intended Math and Intended English) be eligible for STEM as long as at least one of the “intended” majors is a STEM program of study?  

For purposes of certifying a STEM recipient, the recipient must be following a program of study in an approved STEM program

If a student has not declared a program of study or major, it is the responsibility of the certifying officer to review the student’s coursework and determine whether the coursework is consistent with that needed to pursue an approved STEM program of study.

If a student is taking coursework that would lead to an approved STEM program (even if such coursework consists of core courses required of all students), the student should be certified. The coursework of students who have not declared a program of student should continue to be reviewed each semester to ensure they are continuing to pursue to an approved STEM program of study.

We encourage college officials to remind students that STEM awards will convert to loans, to be repaid upon college completion, if a recipient fails to complete an approved program of study. 

Good Academic Standing

Will there be a waiver provision for STEM recipients who don’t meet the cumulative 2.5 GPA requirement?

No. There is no waiver provision for STEM. Students must meet the cumulative 2.5 GPA each semester.

Please verify that, unlike every other NYS program, there is no good academic standing requirement that must be met as of the first day of classes.

Recipients must have the cumulative 2.5 GPA at the end of each term (second semester and thereafter) and must have completed at least 12 credits pertaining to the student’s program of study to receive the STEM award.  The pursuit of program and satisfactory academic process used for other NYS Grants and Scholarships are not required for STEM.

How would we certify STEM only for students that have both TAP and STEM if they don’t meet POP or SAP going into the award term but do have a cumulative 2.5 at the end of the award term?

The POP and SAP requirements are lower than the cumulative GPA requirements for STEM.  Therefore this will not be an issue.

Withdrawals/Transfers

If a STEM recipient withdraws after the fall term ends (earned 2.5 GPA) and isn’t returning to any school for the spring term, is the student still eligible for the fall STEM payment?

Yes.  The student would be eligible for the fall STEM payment.

If a STEM recipient withdraws after the fall term ends (all “W” grades or finished classes but did not earn 2.5 GPA) and isn’t returning to any school for the spring term, is the student still eligible for the fall STEM payment? 

The student would not be eligible for the STEM award as they did not meet the requirement to complete 12 credits each semester.

If a STEM recipient at School 1 who did not earn a 2.5 GPA in the fall transfers to School 2 for spring, is the recipient still eligible for fall STEM?  If so, are there any special conditions?

Transfer students will continue to be eligible for a STEM award if they transfer to an approved school and are enrolled in an approved STEM program of study.  The school will need to look at the grades associated with the credits being transferred into the school to determine if the student meets the cumulative 2.5 GPA requirement.

General Information

Is there a grace period between graduating and working?

Yes.  There is a six month grace period between the time in which a student completes his or her final degree and the time by which he or she must be employed in an approved STEM job.

Is the STEM award available for the summer term?

The STEM award is available for the summer term, beginning with the summer of 2015, provided the student is enrolled fulltime for the summer term.