| Failure to Pursue
Education Law requires a student to remain in good academic standing to continue to be eligible for State student financial assistance. Good academic standing consists of two elements: making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree and pursuing the program of study. Students must satisfy both elements to remain in good academic standing. Failure to satisfy either element results in a loss of good standing and loss of a subsequent award until eligibility is regained.
The “pursuit of program” requirement is based on the number of award payments a student has received and measures student effort. In each term an award is received, the student must receive a passing or failing grade in a minimum percentage of the full-time or part-time course load, as applicable, to remain eligible for a subsequent award. A student who fails to complete (get a grade in) the appropriate percentage of the minimum course load loses eligibility for a subsequent award.
The pursuit requirement is defined in section 145-2.2 (b)(3) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, as follows:
... a student shall be deemed to be pursuing the approved program of study in which he is enrolled if:
(i) during each term of study in the first year for which an award is being received, he receives a passing or failing grade in at least one half of the minimum amount of study required to constitute full-time study or part-time study, whichever is applicable, pursuant to section 145-2.1 of this Subpart; [section defines full-time and part-time study]
(ii) during each term of study in the second year for which an award is being received, he receives a passing or failing grade in at least three fourths of the minimum amount of study required to constitute full-time study or part-time study, whichever is applicable, pursuant to section 145-2.1 of this Subpart;
(iii) during each term of study in the third year for which an award is being received, he receives a passing or failing grade in no less than the minimum amount of study required to constitute full-time study or part-time study, whichever is applicable, pursuant to section 145-2.1 of this Subpart.
For example, a student who is receiving the first semester TAP award payment must get a grade—passing or failing—in a least six credits or 50 percent of the minimum full-time course load of 12 credits during that first semester to satisfy the pursuit of program requirement and be eligible for a second payment. If a student is enrolled for 15 credits in a semester, to satisfy the 50 percent pursuit requirement, the student needs to complete/get a grade in at least 6 credits (50 percent of the minimum full-time course load). The same percentage applies for the second semester TAP award. To be eligible for a third and fourth TAP award payment (second year of study), a student must get a grade in at least nine credits or 75 percent of the minimum full-time course load. In the fifth semester and thereafter, a TAP recipient must get a grade in at least 12 credits or 100 percent of the minimum full-time course load.
In the case of part-time awards, as for full-time awards, the student must get a grade in a percentage of the minimum part-time course load in each term an award is received to remain eligible. The application, however, may differ for the different types of part-time awards (Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS), Part-Time TAP, and Accelerated TAP (Half-Time). For example,
- For APTS, the minimum course load is three credits. If the student begins college study as an APTS recipient who has never received TAP, the student is at the 50 percent pursuit level and must get a grade in at least 50 percent of the minimum course load of 3 credits, or 1-1/2 credits, in each term in the first year of study. (If all courses are three credits, the student must complete at least one course to remain eligible.) The percentage increases to 75 percent of the minimum 3-credit course load for each term in the second year an award is received, and to 100 percent in each term in the third year and thereafter that an award is received.
- For Part-Time TAP, because of the prior study requirements (12 credits earned in each of previous two semesters), a student who has already received TAP for the first two semesters would be at the 75 percent pursuit level when receiving Part-Time TAP, in the third and fourth semesters. The student would have to get a grade in at least 75 percent of the minimum 6-credit Part-Time TAP course load, or 4.5 credits (round up to 5 credits if necessary). However, if a Part-Time TAP recipient has not received any State student aid but has met the prior earned credit requirement, this student would have to get a grade in only 50 percent of the minimum part-time course load, or three credits, in each semester in the first year a Part-Time TAP award is received. That is because the pursuit requirement is based on payments. If the Part-Time TAP payments are the first State awards the student is receiving, then the student begins at the 50 percent pursuit level.
- For accelerated half-time TAP, the student must have earned 24 semester hours (or 18 credits plus 6 remedial hours) in the prior two semesters and have been full time in the prior spring term to be eligible for an accelerated summer payment. If the student received TAP for the first two semesters of college study, the student who is eligible for an accelerated summer payment is at the 75 percent pursuit level in the accelerated term (the third award payment) and must get a grade in at least 4.5 credits for a half-time award (75 percent of the minimum 6-credit for an accelerated award). The percentage remains at 75 percent in the subsequent term (the fourth payment), and then is at the 100 percent level for the fifth payment and thereafter.
Grades generally acceptable for satisfying the pursuit of program requirement include the grades of A through F and any grade that indicates a student (1) attended the course for the entire semester, and (2) completed all necessary assignments. Grades of Incomplete are acceptable only if institution policy specifies that the Incomplete must be resolved (result in a standard passing or failing grade) before the completion of the next term of study (or earlier). Grades of W (withdrawal), or any variation that signifies that the student has failed to complete the entire term, do not constitute grades that indicate the student passed, failed or completed all work in a course and cannot be counted toward meeting the program pursuit requirement.
When reviewing whether a student meets the pursuit requirement, it is important to keep in mind that the requirement is keyed to the number of award payments a student has received. The total number of payments is continuous, so that a graduate student who has received two or more years of undergraduate TAP begins graduate study at the 100 percent pursuit level. Conversely, an eligible graduate student who did not receive undergraduate TAP begins graduate study at the 50 percent pursuit level.