Common Reasons Why Students Lose New York State Award Payments
Students who receive a New York State (NYS) financial aid award to support their college costs must maintain certain requirements to continue receiving those awards.
Below are some common reasons why students lose their financial aid awards and some tips on how to avoid them.
These are general guidelines. You should contact your college financial aid office to check the criteria for maintaining your award or to get answers to any questions regarding your award.
Not in Full-Time Student Status
Most New York State student financial aid programs require that the recipient of an award be a full-time student.
Full-time status for NYS financial aid means:
- Taking at least 12 credits towards your major—also referred to as your program of study—if you are an undergraduate student.
- Taking the number of credits towards your major that the college or university determines to be full time, if you are a graduate student.
Colleges report on each student’s enrollment status after the add/drop date.
To avoid losing an award because of your enrollment status, you must take at least 12 credits in classes that are applicable toward your program of study each semester. This means that you must be taking classes that go toward your major or electives that are accepted towards completion of your degree.
TIPS to ensure you meet the full-time requirement for your NYS award:
- Check your award program details or speak with your financial aid office about the award requirements.
- Take 12 credits or more each semester that will be credited toward your program of study, if you are an undergraduate student.
- If you drop a class before the drop/add period and are not identified by the school as enrolled for at least 12 credits, you may not be eligible for your award payment.
- If you are identified as being enrolled for at least 12 credits and subsequently drop below 12 credits, you are eligible for your award payment if you incurred full-time tuition.
- Check before repeating a class.
- If you repeat a class that you already passed and received credit for while in college, the class is not counted toward your full-time status for NYS financial aid purposes.
- If, as a college student, you repeat an Advance Placement or other college-credit bearing class that you took as a high school student, the class is not counted toward your full-time status for NYS financial aid purposes.
- EXCEPTION: If you repeat a class for your major in which you did not initially receive a passing grade, credits for the repeated class WILL count toward your full-time status. For example, if you require a “B” in a certain class but you earned a “C,” you can repeat the class and the class credits will count toward meeting the full-time requirement for your major.
- If you repeat a class because you received a failing grade, the class is counted toward your full-time status for NYS financial aid purposes.
- Check before taking classes not needed for your major.
- If you are taking a class that is not needed for your major, be sure to take at least 12 credits in classes that go toward your major, including electives, to be deemed in full-time status for NYS financial aid purposes.
TIPS for study abroad students to ensure you meet the full-time requirement for your NYS award:
- Check with the financial aid office regarding your eligibility for NYS financial aid while you are studying abroad.
- Ensure ahead of time that your school will accept the credits earned abroad toward your major.
Not a NYS Resident
Most New York State student financial aid programs require that the recipient of an award be a NYS resident.
You are not considered a NYS resident, for NYS financial aid purposes, if:
- Your parents moved out of NYS and continue to claim you as a dependent on their tax return.
- Your parents moved out of NYS and provided you with $750 or more in financial support.
- You established residency in NYS less than 12 months before applying for a NYS award.
- You moved to NYS only to attend college.
TIPS to ensure you meet the residency requirement for your NYS award:
- To be considered a NYS resident you would need to provide evidence of your residency such as a:
- NYS voter registration card
- NYS driver’s license
- NYS tax return
- Lease you have signed (for property not owned by a family member)
- Utility bill in your name
Not Meeting Minimum Requirements for Earned Credits or GPA
Most New York State student financial aid programs require that the recipient of an award be making satisfactory academic progress – which generally requires that the recipient accumulate a prescribed number of earned credits from successfully completed classes and maintain a certain grade point average each term.
To be eligible for NYS financial aid, a student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). This generally consists of maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (i.e., at least a C average) beginning Junior Year (second year at a community college), and passing enough classes consistent with progress toward a degree. The maximum timeframe requirements typically limit financial aid eligibility to no more than three years for an associate’s degree and no more than four years for a bachelor’s degree.
TIPS to ensure you meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for your NYS award:
- Check with your financial aid office about the maximum timeframe for which you remain eligible for your award.
- Determine whether your annual course-load will allow you to complete your degree before exhausting your award eligibility.
- Check with your financial aid office to determine whether you will exhaust your eligibility before completing your degree as a result of your transfer to another college or a change made to your major.