TAP Coach

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Term Definition
High School Diploma

To be eligible for State student financial assistance, Education Law section 661(4) states that a student first receiving aid in academic year 1996-97 to 2006-2007 must have a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such certificate, or receive a passing score on an approved ability-to-benefit test. For students first receiving aid in academic year 2006-07 and thereafter, the certificate of graduation must be from a recognized school providing secondary education within the United States; or the recognized equivalent of such certificate; or received a passing score on a federally approved ability to benefit test that has been identified by the board of regents and has been independently administered and evaluated as defined by the commissioner.

Therefore, a student without a valid high school diploma must hold a high school equivalency diploma.  A student can earn a high school equivalency diploma in New York State in one of three ways: (1) by taking and earning passing scores on a TASC test or (2) by completing 24 semester hour credits in specified subjects as a recognized candidate for a degree in an approved (accredited) institution or (3) through the National External Diploma Program.  For more information on High School Equivalency Diploma visit nysed.gov.

Note: 

  1. The New York State High School Equivalency diploma may also be awarded to those candidates who meet all New York State requirements and who submit an official report of results from a GED® Test taken outside New York State prior to 2014. Candidates will receive a diploma and an official transcript certifying that they were awarded the New York State High School Equivalency diploma based on GED® testing out of state.

  2. For financial aid purposes a record of a prior (postsecondary) degree earned by a student is acceptable.



 

To be eligible for State student financial assistance, Education Law section 661(4) states that a student first receiving aid in academic year 1996-97 to 2006-2007 must have a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such certificate, or receive a passing score on an approved ability-to-benefit test. For students first receiving aid in academic year 2006-07 and thereafter, the certificate of graduation must be from a recognized school providing secondary education within the United States; or the recognized equivalent of such certificate; or received a passing score on a federally approved ability to benefit test that has been identified by the board of regents and has been independently administered and evaluated as defined by the commissioner.
High School Equivalency Diploma

One way that a student can demonstrate eligibility for TAP is by earning a high school equivalency diploma. New York State has selected a new high school equivalency test called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) to replace the GED as the primary pathway to a New York State High School Equivalency Diploma effective January 2, 2014. The TASC is a secure, reliable and valid instrument used to verify that examinees have knowledge in core content areas equivalent to a graduating high school seniors. For more information click here.

A student can earn a high school equivalency diploma in New York State in one of two ways: (1) by taking and earning passing scores on a test (TASC/GED) or (2) by completing 24 semester hour credits in specified subjects as a recognized candidate for a degree in an approved (accredited) institution. The 24 credits must include 6 credits in English language arts, 3 credits in mathematics, 3 credits in the natural sciences, 3 credits in the social sciences, 3 credits in Humanities, and 6 credits in any other courses within the student's registered ** degree or certificate program.

Note: A student who has earned the requisite 24 credits, is considered to have the "recognized equivalent" of a high school diploma, even before the State Education Department has issued a high school equivalency diploma.

For purposes of meeting TAP eligibility criteria, the 24 credits could include courses in which D grades were earned, providing the D was a passing grade and the student earned the credit.

If a student transfers from one institution to another, credits earned at both institutions can be used to determine whether the student satisfies the 24 credit requirements, providing the credits were earned at approved institutions and were listed on an official transcript. This procedure can apply even when the receiving institution does not accept all credits earned at a previous institution, as long as the prior credits are documented on an official transcript from an accredited institution.


**Registered program means a program that the State Education Department has reviewed and approved and is included in the Department’s official Inventory of Registered Programs.

 
Homeschooled Students

Students who are homeschooled must meet the same criteria, high school diploma or the recognized equivalent, or a passing score on an approved ability-to-benefit test, to be eligible for State student financial assistance as do those students who attend public high schools.

However, homeschooled students do not receive a high school diploma that is acceptable for financial aid purposes as only public and registered nonpublic schools in New York State are permitted by Education Law to award diplomas.  Therefore, homeschooled students must demonstrate their eligibility for State student financial aid in one of the following ways:

  • obtain a letter from local school district officials confiming that the student has received an education "substantially equivalent" to instruction given to students graduating high school in the public schools;
  • take and pass a Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) formally known as a GED and receive a NYS High School Equivalency Diploma from the New York State Education Department (SED) by the first day of classes to be certified as eligible for a financial aid award for that term; or
  • achieve a satisfactory score on an approved Ability-to-Benefit test by the term add/drop date.

More information on homeschooling can be obtained from SED:

The University of the State of New York
New York State Education Department
High School Equivalency (HSE) Office
P.O. Box 7348
Albany, NY 12224-0348
(518) 474-5906