TAP Coach

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TASC and Financial Aid Eligibility

One way that you can demonstrate eligibility for New York State student financial aid is by earning a high school equivalency diploma.

You can earn a high school equivalency diploma from the New York State Education Department in one of two ways: (1) by taking and achieving passing scores on the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) formally known as the GED test* or (2) by completing 24 semester hour credits in specified subjects as a recognized candidate for a degree at an approved (accredited) institution. The 24 credits must include 6 credits in english, 3 credits in mathematics, 3 credits in the natural sciences, 3 credits in the social sciences, and 6 credits in any other courses that can apply to your degree or certificate program requirements. Your college counselor or advisor can assist you to assure that you are taking the appropriate courses to satisfy the 24-credit requirement.

For purposes of meeting TAP eligibility criteria, the 24 credits can include courses in which you earned D grades, providing the D was a passing grade and you earned credit for the course.

If you transfer from one institution to another, credits earned at both institutions can be used to determine whether you meet the 24-credit requirement, providing you earned the credits at an accredited college or university and the credits are listed on an official transcript. Even if the college to which you are transferring does not accept all the credits you earned at a previous institution, as long as the prior credits are documented on an official transcript from an accredited college they can be used to satisfy the 24-credit requirement for a high school equivalency diploma.

*The GED refers to the test of General Educational Development. Passing scores on the TASC test result in the State Education Department awarding a student a high school equivalency diploma.


Section 52.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education defines standards for the registration of undergraduate and graduate curricula (criteria that the State Education Department uses to review and approve academic programs).

The subsection on “Administration,” Section 52.2(e)(6), specifies that: “The institution shall maintain for each student a permanent, complete, accurate, and up-to-date transcript of student achievement at the institution. This document will be the official cumulative record of the student’s cumulative achievement.”

As the regulation states, the academic transcript must be maintained permanently. To comply with the requirement that the transcript be “complete, accurate, and up-to-date,” all grades that a student earns must be recorded. For example, if a student repeats a course, the original grade must remain on the transcript in the term earned. An institution can choose how it wishes to identify an original grade that is subsequently changed—for whatever reason--but both the old and new grades must be recorded on the transcript.

Transfer Student

In the financial aid context, a transfer student is a student who is changing from one institution to another institution that the student has not attended previously. Students who change from one program to another or from one school to another within the same institution should not be considered transfer students. A student who is returning to an institution previously attended is a readmitted student.

If a student loses good academic standing for financial aid purposes, the student can transfer to another institution and regain eligibility for the initial term upon entry.

When an institution admits a transfer student and accepts credits in transfer toward a degree, that admissions assessment and information about the number of State financial aid awards the student may have received will determine placement at the appropriate point on the institution’s chart of satisfactory academic progress. 

A transfer student can be placed on the chart based either on the number of credits earned and accepted in transfer or on the number of award payments received—whichever is more beneficial to the student. If placed on the chart based on credits accepted, the student should be placed at the point closest to but not greater than the number of credits being transferred.

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