| Aid for Part-time Study
APTS HandbookThe Legislature established the Aid for Part-time Study (APTS) program in 1984 in a new section 666 of the Education Law. Aid for Part-time Study is a different program than Part-Time TAP (established in 2006) with different requirements. One key difference is that there is no prior study (prior earned credits) requirement for APTS.
The program is campus-based: that is, individual campuses that decide to participate in the program select recipients and determine award amounts after HESC allocates funds based on an institution’s prior year part-time degree credit enrollment. APTS is not an entitlement program and not all potentially eligible students will necessarily receive an award. Institutions have the discretion to determine policy for administering the program, to make the decisions, and to provide awards to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need until the institution’s available allotted funds are exhausted. Statute does not define need or specify how need is to be determined. Therefore, participating institutions should establish written policies defining selection criteria and methods of choosing recipients to assure an equitable distribution of available funds.
The program provides up to a $2,000 annual award ($1,000 per semester; $666.66 per quarter/trimester) for part-time students matriculated in undergraduate degree and credit-bearing diploma and certificate approved programs who enroll for at least 3 but fewer than 12 semester hours a semester or at least 4 but fewer than 8 semester hours in a quarter or trimester. The student’s part-time course load can consist of both credit-bearing and noncredit remedial courses, providing the student carries at least 3 semester hours of credit-bearing work (i.e., a student who enrolls for the minimum number of hours must enroll in a credit-bearing course). Tuition for the program in which the student enrolls must total at least $100 per year. The maximum award cannot exceed tuition charges. (Students in nondegree registered private business schools are not eligible.)
After selecting recipients, the institution must waive tuition in the amount of the part-time award at the outset of the award-supported term. Once the term has ended, institutions will be reimbursed for tuition waived for each recipient certified to have achieved a cumulative passing average for the semester hours undertaken pursuant to the award. Statute provides that students who fail to achieve a cumulative passing average are not liable for the tuition waived. Institutions will be reimbursed for those students who fail to complete the term with a passing average but only up to 10 percent of the value of all awards made at the institution to recipients who fail to achieve cumulative passing averages.
The following criteria also pertain to APTS:
- 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.
- As is the case with other State award programs, students must remain in good academic standing. For satisfactory academic progress requirements, a student must meet the same criteria of credits accrued with a minimum grade point average approved (or mandated by statute) at the institution for TAP but have more time to do so. For example, in the case of students at semester-based institutions, an APTS recipient has two semesters to meet the requirements on the satisfactory progress chart that a full-time TAP recipient must meet in one semester. However, in the case of pursuit of program requirements where students must get a passing or failing grade in a minimum percentage of the student’s course load, the same criteria apply, whether the student is receiving an APTS or TAP award. The student must get a grade in at least 50 percent of the student’s minimum course load in each term that an award is received in the first year of study. The percentage increases to 75 percent of the minimum course load each term in the second year awards are received and to 100 percent each term thereafter. The good academic standing requirements are in addition to the cumulative passing average requirement that is specific to the APTS program.
- APTS recipients who lose good academic standing have four ways to regain eligibility: make up the deficiency at their own expense without benefit of State student aid; return to college after an absence of at least six months; transfer to another institution; or be granted a one-time undergraduate waiver. The single undergraduate waiver permitted in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education for loss of good academic standing may be used for either a full-time TAP award or an APTS award if the student fails to make progress, fails to pursue, or fails to meet both of these good academic standing requirements in the same term. However, institutions should give particular consideration to whether granting the one-time waiver for a part-time award is the most effective use of the waiver provision or whether it might best be saved for possible use for a full-time award.
- APTS recipients must also meet citizenship, residency, and income eligibility criteria. APTS awards are considered duplicative of other part-time awards. For example, if a student receives a part-time Vietnam Veterans Tuition Award and an APTS award, if the combined awards exceed tuition, APTS is reduced.