Chapter 4: Application and Award Procedures

 

 

4.00 Annual Application Requirement

To receive any state-sponsored award or scholarship, students must submit an application to HESC by June 30 of the academic year for which assistance is sought. 

Exceptions:

To receive assistance through the Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) program, students must submit an application to the participating campus APTS coordinator by the designated deadline-not to HESC.

 

4.01 Selecting TAP and Other Award Recipients

All students who meet the eligibility requirements established for a general or other award program are assured assistance if they file the requisite application forms by June 30 of the academic year for which assistance is being sought.

 

4.02 Selecting Scholarship Recipients

The New York State Education Department selects academic performance award recipients based on academic competition. The Education Department notifies HESC of students it selects for any of these awards. To receive the award, students must submit an application to HESC by June 30 of the academic year for which assistance is being sought. Other HESC administered scholarships have specific application deadline. To view individual scholarship requirements, select Quick References.

4.03 Methods of Application

a. TAP Application

1.) Electronic Process - TAP on the Web (TOTW)

NY residents can apply for both federal and state financial aid using a single online session. After filling out the FAFSA on the Web, New York state residents can link to TAP on the Web, which is prefilled with their FAFSA data and, if applicable, historical data from HESC's system. 

NY residents who exit the FAFSA session and do not link directly to the TOTW can apply using Anytime TAP on the Web (ATOTW). Students must wait for HESC to receive the ISIR data before logging into the ATOTW system. A period of three days is advisable. 

2.) Paper Process

a. TAP Application

Students initiate the TAP application process by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

Effective for the 2010-11 academic year and thereafter: Any New York State resident who lists at least one New York State institution on the FAFSA will be sent an email or postcard by HESC containing instructions on how to file an online application or how to request a paper - Express TAP Application (ETA). No paper applications will be mailed automatically commencing with the 2010-11 academic year. Information from the FAFSA and the family's calculated NYS income will be preprinted on the ETA. The applicant should review this information, make any necessary corrections, complete any missing items, and then sign and mail using the return envelope. Schools can request an ETA through the G&S Transaction Processing Web screens on HESC's Website. The View Student Recordtasks include an option for Request TAP Form. The ETA can also be printed from the Standard Reports behind the G&S Reports tab. HESC will process returned ETAs and then issue an electronic award notification, denial, or requests for additional information. Not all students will have an ETA available for printing. See Multi-year application 4.03 b. below.

b. Multi-year application 
Students who have previously received payment of a TAP award may be selected for the multi year application process. In these cases, current year FAFSA data is matched with historical data on HESC's system to generate an award notification. Students who are selected for multi year will not receive an ETA. If students current year data does not match historical data on HESC's system, an ETA will be generated as described above. Income changes are expected from year to year and will not impact the determination of multi year application. 

c. Applicants at non-Title IV Schools 

New York State Education Law §661(4) makes students who are receiving Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards for the first time in the 2010-11 academic year, and attending schools that have not been authorized as eligible for Title IV federal aid by the beginning of the 2010-11 academic year, ineligible to receive TAP at such institutions.

Students whose first year of attendance began before 2010-11 will be impacted in the following manner:

  • Students who received a New York state financial aid award prior to the 2006-07 academic year at non-Title IV schools are not eligible to receive awards after the 2009-10 academic year;
  • Students who received their initial award in 2006-07 through 2009-10 are eligible to receive awards through the 2014-15 academic year at non-Title IV schools.


Students who remain eligible and are attending schools that do not participate in the federally sponsored Title IV student aid programs do not normally submit FAFSAs. Those schools or students should contact HESC directly to request a paper application.

 

4.04 Methods of Updating Application Data

a. Student Change Forms 
Students can update information on the original application when applying or report information previously not reported by submitting either a:

Request for Information. Students are sent an email directing them to HESC's Website to complete the Request for Information (RFI) electronic form. The RFI requests information not reported on the application. Students can use it to change any information reported on the application or to withdraw a financial independence claim.

b. Institutions Electronically Submitting Changes or Missing Data

Schools that have elected to participate in HESC's Electronic Financial Aid Network (EFAN) can submit to HESC electronically either changes to previously reported information or missing information on behalf of students. Schools can submit electronic changes for all application data except:

  • applicant's Social Security number,
  • proof of New York State residency, and
  • required signatures

HESC will attempt to process electronic changes on a daily basis and, as a rule, no later than three working days after the school submits the changes.

c. Effect of College Code Changes

If HESC processes a college code change before the student appears on a payment roster, HESC places the student's name on a payment roster for the new school.

If HESC processes a college code change after the student appears on a payment roster but before appearing on a Remittance Advice, the student is automatically decertified on the initial roster and the notation "College Code Change" is indicated on the Remittance Advice. HESC then places the student on a payment roster for the new school.

If HESC processes a college code change after the student appears on a payment roster and after being decertified on the Remittance Advice, HESC places the student on a payment roster for the new school.

If HESC processes a college code change after the student has been certified for payment and appears on a Remittance Advice, HESC will deny the student's request for a college code change. (Students cannot be certified at two different schools for the same term.)

 

4.05 Award Notifications

After HESC processes an application and determines the student to be eligible or ineligible for an award, HESC sends an award notification to the student. 

The award notification directs the applicant to view their award online. The applicant will access their account using their user ID and HescPIN.  

a. Annual Index Number  

This figure is based on family New York State net taxable income as reported on the application for payment. The figure enables students to estimate what their TAP awards would be if they attended a school other than the one listed on the award notification. To estimate the TAP award, subtract this amount form the annual tuition charge or the maximum annual TAP award, whichever is less. HESC prorates the remaining amount by term to arrive at the term award.  

b. Payment History Information  

The HESC G&S Web pages contain information on students' payment history coded as follows: 

Year-The first academic year, for example,09=2009-10, in which HESC awarded a student TAP or any other state grant or scholarship award.

Waiver-The student's use of the one-time waiver of good academic standing, indicated by one of the following codes:  

0- waiver has never been used

1- waiver used as an undergraduate

2- waiver used as a graduate student

3- waiver used as both an undergraduate and graduate student

TU- The number of TAP payment points an undergraduate student has accumulated.

TG- The number of TAP payment points a graduate student has accumulated.

SC- The number of undergraduate scholarship or graduate scholarship payment points a student has accumulated.

FE- The number of payment points a graduate student has accumulated through the Veterans Tuition Award program.

CV- The number of payment points a student has accumulated through the Regents Award for Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans or the Memorial Scholarships for Families of Deceased Firefighters, Volunteer Firefighters, Police Officers, Peace Officers and Emergency Medical Service Workers.

VA- The number of payment points an undergraduate student has accumulated through the Veterans Tuition Award program.

ST- The number of STAP payment points the student has accumulated.

PT- The number of payment points a student has accumulated through the Aid for Part-Time Study program.  

c. Award Notification Messages  

HESC may include a variety of messages on a student's award notification. For easy reference, codes corresponding to each message are included on the school’s copy of the award notification. You must log in with your ID and password, then select Forms and Bulletins. Click here for a listing of the messages and message codes.

4.06 Determining TAP Awards  

a. Calculating Awards  

The TAP program provides a range of annual award amounts. HESC considers each of the following factors in calculating a student's award:

  • Net taxable Income. HESC bases TAP awards on the family net taxable income of the student. Net taxable income refers to the taxable balance as reported on appropriate New York State tax returns after relevant exemptions and deductions. The lower the net taxable income, the larger the award. For dependent students, HESC uses the income of the parents, the student, and the student's spouse, if married. For independent students, HESC uses only the income of the student and, if married, the student's spouse. Effective with the 2009-10 award year, income from state, federal and local government pensions must be included when reporting income for State aid. Effective with the 2010-11 award year income from annuities, which were excluded on the NYS tax form, must be added back in to the income for purposes of calculating the TAP award.
  • Tuition. TAP awards can never exceed student's tuition liability or the applicable maximum award whichever is less. When the student's tuition liability is less than the maximum TAP award, HESC uses the actual tuition liability as a basis for calculating the award.
  • Term Structure. HESC initially determines TAP awards on an annual basis and then prorates the award by the number of terms constituting the academic year. For institutions operating on a semester calendar, HESC divides the annual award by two to determine the term award; on trimester calendars, HESC divides the annual award by three to determine the term award.
  • Award Schedules. Statute provides different award schedules for dependent and independent students; students enrolled at degree or nondegree institutions; and students enrolled at the undergraduate or graduate level. Award schedules HESC uses currently are in Appendix A. HESC uses the award schedule to determine a reduction factor based on net taxable income. HESC then subtracts the reduction factor from the maximum TAP award for that schedule or the tuition charge, whichever is less. The remainder is the student's annual TAP award.
  • Minimum Award. All TAP award schedules provide for a minimum award that is available to any student whose income does not exceed the maximum allowed for that student's schedule, without regard to the income reduction formula.

 

b. Adjustments

Under the following circumstances, HESC will adjust a student's TAP award:

  • Statutory Reduction. The statute governing the TAP program provides that HESC must reduce a student's TAP award by $100 per academic year ($50 per semester or $33.34 per trimester, $25 per quarter) when the student has received the equivalent of four or more semesters of TAP payment or any combination of four or more TAP or STAP payments. The initial term reduction may be pro-rated due to a less than full-time certification in a previous term. For example, if the student has 21 points (3 1/2 payments) going into a semester , the term statutory reduction would be $25. For part-time summer, a student’s TAP award will be reduced by $25 (one quarter of statutory reduction).
  • Other Enrolled Family Members. For award calculation purposes, HESC adjusts net taxable income for other family members enrolled full-time in postsecondary education. For dependent students, HESC may adjust total net taxable income if the student's parents or other dependent children of the student's parents are enrolled in postsecondary education. For independent students, HESC adjusts the applicant's net taxable income if a spouse or the applicant's dependent children are enrolled in postsecondary education.
  • Undergraduate Students. HESC reduces the net taxable income used to calculate the award by $3,000 if a second family member is enrolled in postsecondary education, and by $2,000 for each additional family enrolled in postsecondary education.
  • Graduate Students. HESC divides the net taxable income used to calculate awards by the number of family members enrolled in postsecondary education. Since these adjustments result in awards being based on a lower income figure, HESC will increase the amount of the award.(Graduate TAP awards have not been funded effective with the 2010-11 award year)


For HESC to consider other family members enrolled in postsecondary education, family members must be enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one term of the academic year for which they are seeking an award. They must be enrolled in an educational institution approved for TAP, Pell Grants, or any of the federal or New York State guaranteed student loan programs Loans, etc.). The educational institution where the other family member is enrolled does not have to be in New York State, but it must be approved for one of these programs. 
If another family member is enrolled in postsecondary education for any term of the academic year, the applicant receives an adjustment for the entire year. The other family member does not have to be enrolled for a corresponding term.

  • Reductions Less Than Minimum Award. Under the following circumstances, HESC may reduce a student's award below the minimum award established for the award schedule:
  • If the student's tuition liability is less than the minimum award, the adjusted award will not exceed the student's actual tuition liability. However, if the student's tuition liability is less than the statutory minimum ($50 per semester, $33.34 per trimester,$25 per quarter), HESC does not pay an award.
  • If a student has less than a full term of TAP eligibility remaining, HESC will adjust the student's award accordingly. This adjustment can result in a student receiving an award less than the minimum term award.
  • Award Recalculations for Withdrawals. When a student withdraws or drops below full-time study and this results in a decreased tuition liability, HESC recalculates the award. HESC bases recalculated awards on the student's actual tuition liability that the school certifies on the Payment Roster. The recalculated award appears on the Remittance Advice.

 

4.07 Determining Other Grant and Scholarship Awards


a. Awards Not Based on Income

The following awards are for a fixed amount:

  • Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Regents Award for Children of Deceased or Disabled Veterans (CV) - $450 annual award
  • Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship $1,500 annual award (no new awards granted for 2011-12; prior recipients will not receive payments; no awards for 2012-13)
  • New York Lottery Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship distributed in payments of $625 per semester to one graduating senior from each participating public and private high school in New York State. (no new awards granted for 2012-13; recipients of a prior LOT Scholarship will continue to receive any unpaid balance subject to the original requirements)


The following award cannot exceed tuition charges:

  • Veterans Tuition Award (VA)
    • For full-time study, a recipient shall receive an award of up to the full cost of undergraduate tuition for New York state residents at the State University of New York, or actual tuition charged, whichever is less. Full-time study is defined as twelve or more credits per semester (or the equivalent) at a degree-granting institution, or twenty-four or more hours per week in a vocational training program.
    • For part-time study, awards will be prorated by credit hour. Part-time study is defined as at least three but fewer than twelve credits per semester (or the equivalent) at a degree-granting institution, or six to twenty-three hours per week in a vocational training program.

b. Income-based Awards

In addition to the TAP program, HESC also bases the following awards on income: 

  • Regents Professional Opportunity Scholarship (PO)- $5,000 maximum annual award but cannot exceed cost of attendance - sunset by statutory authorization (no new awards granted; prior recipients will not receive payments)


NOTE: The maximum award is reduced by $1 for every $4 of total family income exceeding the established minimum income figure for the economically disadvantaged. 

c. Other Awards

  • Memorial Scholarship for Families of Deceased Firefighters, Volunteer Firefighters, Police Officers, Peace Officers and Emergency Medical Service Workers annual award to cover tuition and nontuition costs of attending college- see Memorial Scholarship Guidelines, Appendix E.
  • World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship - guarantees access to a college education for the families and financial dependents of innocent victims who died or were severely and permanently disabled as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States of America and the resulting rescue and recovery efforts.
  • Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship - guarantee access to a college education for the families and financial dependents of victims of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 on November 12, 2001.
  • Flight 3407 Memorial Scholarship - guarantee access to a college education for the families and financial dependents of individuals killed as a direct result of the crash of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 on February 12, 2009.
  • Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship - is a competitive award made to licensed nurses who have been accepted in a master’s nursing program at an accredited nursing school in New York State. Applicants agree to become nursing faculty and agree to serve as a teacher in a facility in New York State.
  • Military Service Recognition Scholarship - provides financial aid to children, spouses and financial dependents of members of the armed forces of the United States or of a state organized militia who, at any time on or after Aug. 2, 1990, while a New York State resident, died or became severely and permanently disabled while engaged in hostilities or training for hostilities. For study in New York State.
  • NYS Math & Science Teaching Incentive Scholarship - provides grants to eligible full-time undergraduate or graduate students in approved programs that lead to math or science teaching careers in secondary education.
  • Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) - maximum annual award of $2,000 but cannot exceed tuition. 

Additional information on award calculation for these programs is in Chapter 1

 

4.08 Calculating Term Awards  

a. Regular Academic Year

To determine the term award, divide the annual award by the number of terms in the regular academic year. There are two terms on a semester calendar, fall and spring; three terms on a trimester calendar, usually fall, winter, and spring.

b. Accelerated Awards

If a student attends the institution for an additional term of study beyond the regular study program for the academic year, an additional term award is possible. See item 2.07d in Chapter 2.

c. Awards for Summer Study

HESC may grant students a term award for summer study. For award purposes, HESC adds all summer study terms together to form a single summer term. HESC pays full-time study awards in a summer term on the same term basis as it does for a term during the regular academic year (semester or trimester). HESC treats full-time summer study the same way it treats any other term. 
It is also possible for HESC to grant awards for half-time study in a summer term if summer is considered to be accelerated study and beyond the regular program of study for the academic year. However students must be in full-time attendance during the preceding spring term and must meet other accelerated study requirements to receive payment. See item 2.07d in Chapter 2. 

HESC calculates half-time awards for accelerated summer study in the following manner:

  • Undergraduate Awards. If the tuition charge is less than half the maximum term award, HESC determines the award amount by subtracting half the term income reduction from the tuition charge. If the tuition charge is equal to or greater than half the maximum term award, the award is equal to half of the term award.
  • Graduate Awards. The award is equal to half the term award minus one half of the term income reduction. (Effective with the 2010-11 academic year, graduate awards are no longer funded for TAP)

 

4.09 Verification

HESC verifies certain types of information applicants submit for state student financial aid. 

a. Income Verification Program (IVP)

HESC verifies with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance income information students provided on a TAP application. HESC compares the net taxable income and, if applicable, the pension income the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant's spouse and parents report on the form with records of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Verification Results

Unchanged Awards. (No income discrepancy.) If the income information on the application and the tax return are comparable, no action is required. Neither the school nor the applicants receive additional notification. 


Increased Awards. If the total net taxable income on applicants' tax returns is less than that reported on the application, HESC increases the award. HESC sends an award certificate to notify students of the increase. 
Decreased Awards. If the total net taxable income on applicants' tax returns is greater than that reported on the application, HESC decreases the award. In this instance HESC notifies students of the reduced award by letter. HESC also offers students the opportunity to appeal the determination. 


Student Appeals. Students may appeal HESC's decrease in award determination if they believe HESC made an error. Students wishing to appeal must return the notification letter to HESC within 45 days of issuance. The individual - student, spouse, or parent - whose income is being questioned must sign the letter. Applicants should provide additional supporting documentation with the appeal. Applicants may submit appeals to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for further review. After HESC completes the review process, HESC will notify the student of the result of the appeal. If HESC is adjusting an award as a result of the appeal, HESC will send a new award notification to the student. 


Institutional Responsibilities. Ordinarily, HESC will show an award adjusted as a result of income verification on the Payment Roster. The institution is responsible for promptly reviewing and taking appropriate action to recover any excess funds that may have been disbursed to students before HESC verified their income. 

b. Verification that Other Family Members Are Enrolled In Postsecondary Education

If an applicant claims an income adjustment for having another family member (or members) in college, HESC will verify the enrollment of the family member. Beginning in the fall, and continuing throughout the academic year, HESC attempts to verify enrollment of other family members through a match with HESC processing records. In many instances, HESC is able to verify enrollment through this match process. However, if the match is unsuccessful, HESC sends a letter to the applicant requesting confirmation of full-time attendance (12 credits per semester, 8 credits per trimester, or the equivalent) and matriculation of the other family member(s). This letter must be signed and returned to HESC for the applicant to remain eligible for the income adjustment. If the applicant fails to return the letter by the designated deadline, HESC rescinds the income adjustment and recalculates the applicant’s award. An applicant whose award has been recalculated can appeal the action by providing documentation confirming the other family member’s full-time enrollment and matriculation. The documentation required for reinstatement of the income adjustment must come from the Registrar’s Office of the other family member’s institution. The applicant must arrange to have that office verify, through official certification or transcript of notification of grades, the full-time enrollment and matriculation of the other family member.

NOTE: Any documentation submitted should be addressed to the HESC-VIAC Unit and include the applicant’s name and social security number. 

 

4.10 Use of Awards

The state's grant and scholarship programs are intended to help students meet educational costs. Accordingly, HESC expects institutions participating in these programs to implement institutional policies and procedures to assist in delivering financial aid benefits to students.  

a. Required Deferment of Tuition  

HESC requires schools to defer term tuition charges in an amount equal to the award when students present valid award notification for a TAP or other state award for that term, or if the student's award appears on an institution payment roster for that term. 

Exceptions: Schools are not required to defer tuition based on an award notification or payment roster when:

  • the institution reasonably believes the student may be ineligible for the award or that the award amount may be reduced; or
  • the institution is waiting for the student to complete or correct financial aid forms that could affect the student's eligibility for an award or the award amount; or the institution is waiting for income verification.

b. Suggested Deferment of Tuition  

In the absence of an award notification, schools are encouraged to defer term tuition charges:

  • when the institution can determine that the student is eligible for an award for the term and the amount of the award by using HESC's School Inquiry Services, or
  • by referring to a student status list.

c. Crediting of Awards  

HESC requires schools to credit student accounts with any state student financial aid payments or prepayments within seven calendar days of when the student incurred a full tuition liability for the term; or within seven days of when the school receives such payment or prepayment check, whichever is later. 

The method of crediting student accounts may vary depending on institutional accounting procedures. However, the crediting date, as described above, initiates a time frame for the institution to disburse any state financial aid funds due the student.  

d. Disbursement of Funds  

The institution should disburse any state student financial aid awards to the student as soon as possible, but not more than 45 days after the institution has credited the award to the student's account. 

Exceptions: Instead of disbursing funds, schools may credit them toward a future term if the student authorizes the credit in writing. Schools may also credit state student financial aid payments toward charges the student has incurred for a future term. That term must already be underway when the school receives the payment, and the balance for that term must exceed the amount deferred for that term based on anticipated receipt of a state award.

 

4.11 Refusal of Award

By submitting an application for payment, HESC assumes students want to receive any state awards for which they have been approved. 

Students may refuse an award for any reason provided they notify the school before being certified as eligible for the award. Students must also make appropriate financial arrangements with the school if the school deferred charges pending receipt of the award. Once the school certifies a student' s eligibility for an award, HESC considers the student to have accepted the award for that term. Students may not refuse the award after they've been certified.

 

4.12 Student Status Listings

HESC makes these cumulative listings available on a monthly or weekly basis to all schools participating in the state's grant and scholarship programs. The lists include all students for whom HESC has processed an award, HESC has denied an award, or whom HESC has placed in pending status awaiting additional information. The lists should aid school personnel in granting tuition deferments, advising students of their TAP application status, and counseling students who have failed to respond to HESC's requests for additional information. 

4.13 Filing Deadlines

a. Payment Applications

To receive TAP or other state awards or scholarships, the student must submit an application postmarked on or before June 30 of the academic year for which assistance is sought.  

b. College Code Changes  

Changes to college codes, whether the student submits them on a change form or the institution submits them electronically, must be submitted by closeout for payments purposes of the academic year for which the change is being made.  

c. Other Changes  

Other changes, whether submitted on a change form or electronically, must be submitted by June 30 of the academic year for which assistance is being sought, or within 45 days of issuance of an award approval or denial notice by HESC, whichever is later. Students whose applications are denied for not responding within 45 days to HESC's request for additional information must respond by June 30 to have HESC review the application again. The 45-day provision does not apply to denials for failing to apply by June 30. 

HESC will deny awards to students who fail to submit a timely application or response.