|Opportunity Program (Five-Year Program)
For financial aid purposes, there are two types of five-year programs that can entitle an undergraduate student to an additional year of State financial assistance.
According to section 661 of the Education Law, an undergraduate student is eligible for up to four years of undergraduate assistance unless the student is enrolled in an approved five-year program, in which case the student is eligible for five years of undergraduate assistance.
This section of the Law is implemented by section 145-2.7 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. A student enrolled in an academic program that requires five years to complete and that the State Education Department has registered as a five-year program is eligible for a fifth year of undergraduate assistance. Examples are certain architecture or engineering programs. “Three Plus Two” programs that combine three years of liberal arts plus two years of a specialization are not considered five-year programs but rather a five-year pathway to a degree that normally takes four years to complete.
The second type of eligible five-year program is one that is an organized program of remedial study approved by the Commissioner. These include the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) program, and the College Discovery (CD) program. Students accepted in an opportunity program are considered matriculated on that basis and are eligible for TAP but, in accordance with statute, are not eligible for STAP. An opportunity program student who is enrolled in a second bachelor's degree program is not eligible for a fifth year of TAP.
Commissioner’s approval for the fifth year of payments applies to all academic performance and general purpose awards for which a fifth-year payment is authorized.
Note: A fifth year of undergraduate assistance reduces a student’s statutory eligibility for four years of graduate award eligibility to three years. (Effective with the 2010-11 award year, graduate TAP funds have been eliminated. Graduate awards for the Veterans Tuition Award and the Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty scholarship continue to be funded)
State student financial assistance is provided for students who meet eligibility criteria, including attendance at an eligible institution located in New York State.
Under certain circumstances, as specified in section 145-2.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, a student may be eligible for a State award when studying in another state or another country.
As defined in the regulation, “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 the student receives instruction at an out-of-state school, the instruction may be considered as in-state study “only if the student is required to pay all tuition and instructional fees for such foreign or out-of-state study to the approved New York State institution.”
The regulation further specifies that “To be approved, 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. If the student pays tuition or educational fees to an out-of-state institution, the student shall be considered as receiving instruction provided by that 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 supervisory, guidance, or administrative services.”
Typical eligible foreign study programs are “junior year abroad” programs, where a student studies in a foreign country for a year or semester and the study is fully applicable to the student’s degree requirements at the New York State institution where the student is matriculated. The student maintains matriculation during the overseas study.
Another example of eligible out-of-state study is a semester or year of study offered and conducted by a New York State institution in another state or country.
To be acceptable for state award purposes, the institution where the student is matriculated must give prior approval for the out of state or foreign study and the courses completed must be applicable to the student's degree requirements. In order to certify eligibility for State financial aid, the matriculating institution must receive all grades and tuition costs from the school attended.