Legislation pertaining to eligibility for State student financial assistance was enacted in 2006 that affects students first receiving awards in academic year 2006-2007 and thereafter. According to amended section 661(4) of Education Law, an applicant for a State award must have a certificate of graduation from a high school in the United States or the equivalent of such certificate. Therefore, high school credentials from foreign countries are no longer acceptable. Students who completed their secondary education in another country must take an approved ability-to-benefit test to be eligible.
In the case of college-level study, institutions should evaluate foreign credentials, or have them evaluated by a commercial evaluation service, to assure that the study was, in fact, beyond secondary school. Schools should retain copies of foreign academic transcripts and the evaluation (in English translation, as applicable) in the student’s folder. To be acceptable, foreign study must have been completed at an institution approved by the country’s Ministry of Education.