While matriculated status for academic purposes is a policy decision within the discretion of an institution’s faculty and administration, the definition of matriculated status for financial aid purposes is established in section 145-2.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, (italicized text); explanatory text follows:
- A student shall be considered in matriculated status if the student has filed a written application for enrollment at the institution for the purpose of earning a degree, diploma or certificate;
A student must be enrolled in an approved program (one that the State Education Department has registered as TAP eligible). A student who has not formally applied to an institution and is simply enrolling in individual courses is not matriculated.
- In accepting the student’s application, the institution has taken into account the capacity of the student to undertake a course of study and its own capacity to provide what instructional and other support the student needs to complete the program;
To assess the student’s capacity to complete the program, the institution must have adequate admissions procedures to evaluate a student’s academic needs and determine, where necessary, appropriate remedial study and support services.
- The institution, on the basis of that demonstration, has recognized the student as a candidate for that degree, diploma or certificate
- It shall not be necessary that the student, in addition, have passed matriculation examinations or language examinations, or completed any other particular prerequisites established by the school in accordance with local custom or regulation;
For example, some institutions require students to take placement examinations. Successful completion of such examinations shall not be necessary for a student to be considered matriculated.
- Effective for academic terms beginning after January 1, 1978, students accepted in special programs for the disadvantaged, may be considered matriculated on that basis only if such programs are in the EOP, HEOP, SEEK or College Discovery categories, or otherwise approved by the Commissioner.
- The student who is enrolled for courses solely to complete teacher certification, licensing, or other external requirements, or solely for personal or cultural advancement, and who is not recognized as a candidate for a degree, diploma or certificate, shall not be considered a matriculated student.
- A student shall be considered matriculated only if the courses pursued by the student are fully recognized at that time as contributing towards fulfillment by the student of the requirements for completion of the program.
To be considered matriculated for financial aid purposes, a student must take courses—credit-bearing or a combination of credit-bearing and noncredit remedial courses—which are recognized by the institution in the term taken as contributing toward completion of a program of study.
- A student required to complete certain courses to make up deficiencies in background or training may be considered matriculated if acceptance and credit are not conditioned upon additional and special requirements designed to establish the qualifications of the student to pursue the program successfully.
- If credit is conditional, depending upon satisfactory completion of certain special and additional requirements, then the student shall not be considered to be fully matriculated.
A student who is admitted conditionally is not considered to be matriculated.
- Retroactive matriculation by the school shall not establish retroactive eligibility for student aid unless such retroactive action was necessary to correct clerical error or administrative delay in reviewing the application of a student who was in fact eligible for matriculation as of the retroactive date.
- Students enrolled in a degree granting institution other than the institution in which they are matriculated must be certified as eligible for tuition assistance by the matriculating institution. The courses and program of study at the attending institution must be consistent with the matriculating institution's approved program of study at the time of enrollment and attendance. In order to certify eligibility for State financial aid, the matriculating institution must receive all grades and tuition costs from the school attended.
Academic practices at some institutions permit entering students to defer declaring a major until a later time in their college study. In such instances, students usually take courses in a variety of disciplines that are common to a number of degree programs.
Students who defer declaring a major may be considered matriculated in one or more of an institution’s approved programs; however, students must declare a major within 30 days of the end of their institution’s drop/add period—in the first term of the sophomore year for two-year programs or the first term of the junior year for four-year programs, so that the student is able to complete the requirements for the degree within the timeframe specified in the academic program as registered by the State Education Department and appears on the Inventory of Registered Programs as a program eligible for State student aid. While a declaration must be made at specific points as noted above, students are of course, free to change their choice of major during their program of study.
If a student has completed all requirements for one degree and is taking additional courses but has not formally matriculated in another degree program, that student is not eligible for further aid.
TAP Manual, Chapter 3, Section 3.01(d)