ETA Webinar Q&As

General Eligibility

What AGI information do dependent students report on the ETA application?
Dependent students must report their own AGI as well as the AGI of their parents or their spouse, as applicable.
Can a student from a private college who is eligible for an ETA award transfer to a SUNY/CUNY college and receive an Excelsior Scholarship?
Yes. A student from a private college can transfer to a SUNY or CUNY college and receive an Excelsior Scholarship if the student meets the eligibility requirements.
Are HEOP students eligible for ETA?
Yes. HEOP students are eligible for the ETA. HEOP students must earn 24 credits per year and be on track to complete their degree in 5 years. If eligible, the award amount would be calculated by subtracting the recipient’s TAP award from the $6,000 award, with half of the remaining balance paid by ETA and half paid by the college.
What is the ETA Program award amount?
The ETA Program provides a $6,000 award. If a recipient is eligible, the award amount would be calculated by subtracting the recipient’s TAP award from the $6,000 award, with half of the remaining balance paid by ETA and half paid by the college.
If a student receives the ETA at one college and then transfers to another participating college, does the ETA follow the student?
No, the ETA award does not follow the student. The student will need to reapply to a participating college and be selected. In addition, the college must accept all of the credits so that the student remains on track to graduate on time.
Does a student who loses a family member and takes a leave of absence lose eligibility?
A student who experiences a family loss would be granted an allowable leave of absence, and would not lose eligibility upon returning to the same college or university.
Can a student apply to both ETA and the Excelsior Scholarship?
Students can apply to both but must select a college and a program prior to signing the contract.
Is a student who completes the ETA application but fails to complete the FAFSA and/or TAP application by the ETA application deadline ineligible?
A student who failed to complete the FAFSA and/or TAP application during the ETA application period would be ineligible for an award for the 2017-18 academic year. Such student could apply for the 2018-19 academic year.
Must a student complete an ETA application each year?
No. Students who receive the ETA Program award will not need to apply for the award each year. However, recipients will be required to submit a FAFSA and TAP application each year to determine continued income eligibility.
Would a student whose tuition is fully funded (through TAP, HEOP grant, Pell, etc.) receive an ETA Program award?
A student whose tuition is fully funded would not be eligible to receive an ETA Program award.
Is the $6,000 award for the year or for the term?
The $6,000 award is an academic year award.

Student Credits

Does a student who takes three years to complete an Associate’s Degree lose the award in the last year?
Students (other than opportunity program students or students with a disability under the ADA) must earn 30 credits each year and be on track to graduate on time to retain eligibility for their ETA Program award. Students who fail to meet the credit criteria would be ineligible for payment of an award.
2. How are credit-by-exam program credits (such as AP, CLEP or DSST) applied?
College credits earned through an exam, prior to pursuing an undergraduate degree, can be applied in any manner that results in 30 cumulative credits per year.

Opt -In / Opt-Out

What does a college commit to when opting-in to the ETA Program?
A college must agree to:
  • Match the ETA Program awards during the academic year;
  • Provide the match for the duration of a recipient’s attendance at the college, provided the student remains eligible for the award; and
  • Freeze the tuition rate charged to an ETA recipient for the time in which the student is in attendance at the college and remains eligible for the award.
Must a college commit a certain amount of funds, or have a minimum number of students in the program, to participate?
No. There is no minimum amount of funding or minimum number of students required to participate. However, a college but may elect to establish a cap on its participation based on a dollar threshold or a maximum number of students.
Can a college limit participation by academic program?
No

Tuition and Match

If a student loses his/her award after the first semester, does the tuition remain frozen for the entire year or would it revert to the current rate?
The tuition must remain frozen for the entire year for a student who loses his/her award after the first semester.
Must colleges also freeze fees and room and board?
No. The ETA Program only requires that a recipient’s tuition be frozen for the duration of his/her attendance at the college, provided the student remains eligible for the award.
Is the college still able to charge for extra credits – which is about 18 credits per semester -- if a recipient chooses to take extra courses?
Yes. A college may charge its regular rates for extra credits. The tuition freeze applies only to the standard tuition charged by the college.
If a student fails to meet the 30 credit requirement and the ETA pays for the first term, what happens to the match award?
The college is only required to pay the match for the first term – which is the term for which the student met the eligibility requirements.

Payments and Certification

How will TAP certifications and ETA certifications be done? Should schools certify TAP in the usual manner and get paid by HESC, (usually during the term), then certify ETA at end of term. Or should they certify both TAP and ETA at end of term?
The TAP certification process remains the same. ETA certification will take place, separately, at the end of the semester.
Aside from the certification process, are there any additional reporting requirements from participating colleges?
No. There will be no additional reporting requirements from participating colleges. However, participating colleges will be asked additional questions regarding the tuition charged, the amount of the institution’s matching award, and credits earned (as well as the cumulative credits earned) at the end of each academic term as part of the certification process.
When will colleges receive award funds?
Payments will be made at the end of the term, after certification.
How are payments made for a student who takes 12 credits fall, 12 credits in the spring and 6 credits in the summer?
Payments will be made at the end of the fall and summer terms after certification of the Spring roster. Therefore, credits earned during a summer session would be added to the spring term to allow the student to accumulated 30 credits in one year.
Is there any acceleration payment for the 3rd full term in a year like there is for TAP?
No.
Will the student’s ETA award change if the TAP award is adjusted after certification?
Yes. HESC will make changes and provide updated information to the college if a student’s TAP award is adjusted after certification.
Do the SAP rules for TAP apply for the ETA award?
No. The ETA Program only requires that a student receive a passing grade, as determined by the college.
Are schools required to defer the ETA award for the entire term?
Yes. Schools must defer tuition through certification of the ETA Program