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In-State Study

New York State student financial assistance is provided for students attending institutions in the State. According to section 145-2.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, “to be considered in attendance at a school in New York State, the student must either be matriculated at that school, or must be registered at that school under permit from another school in New York State at which the student is regularly matriculated.”

If a student attends a New York State school but is matriculated at an out-of-state institution, that student is considered to be an out-of-state student.

However, a student who receives instruction from an out-of-state institution can be considered to be receiving instruction from an institution in the State providing all tuition and instructional fees for the foreign or out-of-state study are paid to the New York State institution. Conversely, a student who pays instructional fees and tuition directly to a foreign or out-of-state institution, notwithstanding the fact that the student may be maintaining registration in a New York State institution, or that the New York State institution may also be charging the student a fee for advisory or administrative services, is considered to be attending the foreign or out-of-state institution and is ineligible for New York State student aid.

Section 145-2.5 further provides that to be approved as eligible for NYS student financial assistance, “an off-campus study program must be an integral part of the curriculum of the New York State institution, and tuition must be payable to the school and received by the school in the same manner as tuition charged for any other school program.”

Incomplete Grades

The importance of Incomplete grades in the context of financial aid eligibility relates to good academic standing requirements. Incomplete grades can be considered in certain circumstances when determining whether a student has met the pursuit of program requirement to remain in good academic standing. 

Generally, passing or failing grades of A through F are acceptable for meeting the pursuit of program requirement as well as any grade that indicates the student:

  • Attended the course for the entire term and
  • Completed all necessary assignments 

Courses in which a student receives an Incomplete can also be used to satisfy the pursuit requirement providing that institutional policy requires the Incomplete grade to be changed to a standard passing or failing grade by end of the subsequent term of study. If institutional policy permits an Incomplete grade to remain on a student’s academic transcript indefinitely, then Incomplete grades cannot be used to meet the pursuit requirement.

Independent Study

Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, independent or individualized study can be considered in determining whether a student is full time or part time for financial aid purposes. To be acceptable as part of the student’s minimum full or part-time course load, the student effort for the independent study must be the same, on an hour-for-hour equivalent basis, as that required for a credit-bearing course and if required or approved by the institution in a prefiled plan of study as an integral part of the student’s program.

To determine whether the student effort is the same as that required for a credit-bearing course, the institution’s faculty should establish a credit-equivalent value for the independent study based on the definition of a semester hour in section 50.1 (o) of Commissioner’s Regulations. Section 50.1(o) defines a semester hour as a unit of academic award that requires at least 15 fifty-minute hours of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments. The institution should maintain documentation of the student’s work or other activity completed as a record of the student’s independent study effort.

Integral Part

In the context of student financial aid eligibility, the concept of “integral part” is important in determining whether a student is full time.

State student aid is provided to enable students to complete a program of postsecondary education. Academic programs must be registered (approved) by the State Education Department and designated as eligible for State student assistance. To approve a program, the Department reviews the specific program requirements to assure that the curriculum is in compliance with the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education for program registration.

To be considered an integral part of the student’s program, courses that make up the student’s minimum full-time course load must be applicable to the program’s requirements—as a general requirement, major requirement, or elective—as registered.

Students who wish to include in their program of study certain activities in addition to traditional courses may do so. Section 145-2.1(a) of regulations provides that activities such as independent study, practice teaching, thesis and dissertation research, and noncredit or remedial study can be included in the determination of full-time and part-time study, providing the activity is “required or approved by the school, in a plan of study prefiled by the student with the school, as an integral part of the student’s program.”

Interinstitutional Study

A student who is matriculated at a TAP-eligible New York State institution can take courses at another TAP-eligible institution in the State as all or part of the minimum full-time course load for financial aid purposes under the following conditions:

  • The “home” institution--where the student is matriculated--gives prior approval for the course work;
  • The completed courses are accepted by the home institution toward the student’s degree requirements.

The home institution certifies the student’s eligibility and the award is based on the tuition charged by the institution the student attends. 


Some institutions offer a short term between regular semesters, such as a one-month winter session between the fall and spring semesters.

Free-standing intersessions are ineligible for State student aid unless the term is formally linked to either the fall or spring semester to form a “simulated semester” for financial aid purposes. Simulated semester calendar arrangements must be approved by the State Education Department.

Inventory of Registered Programs

The State Education Department maintains an official Inventory of Registered Programs that is updated daily as new academic programs and existing program changes are approved.

For each institution the inventory lists all credit-bearing programs offered leading to postsecondary certificates or degrees, as well as certain noncredit programs leading to licensure in a profession (e.g., licensed practical nursing programs offered by a hospital school).

For each registered program, the Inventory indicates whether the program is eligible for three State student aid programs: the Tuition Assistance Program, Aid for Part-Time Study, and Veterans Tuition Awards.

The Inventory is available from the State Education Department.

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