Each institution establishes its requirements for admission to various programs and levels of study. However, Education Law section 661 imposes a basic entrance requirement for eligibility for state student financial aid.
To be eligible, a student must have a certificate of graduation (high school diploma) from a school providing secondary education or a high school equivalency diploma. A third possibility for students who do not have a high school diploma or equivalency diploma is to take and pass an approved ability-to-benefit test that demonstrates the student can benefit from the education being offered.
Legislation enacted in 2006 and 2007 amended these requirements. Students who first receive an award in the 2006-07 academic year or thereafter must have a certificate of graduation from a high school in the United States. Ability-to-benefit criteria have also changed. Section 661(4)(e) now specifies that a student who does not have a U.S. high school diploma or the recognized equivalent must achieve a passing score on a federally approved ability-to-benefit test identified by the NYS Board of Regents as satisfying the eligibility requirements of this section and that has been independently administered and evaluated as defined by the Commissioner of Education.
Ability to Benefit