TAP FAQs

Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements for TAP?
Among other requirements, to be eligible for a TAP award, you must be a NYS resident for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the first term for which aid is sought, attend a college in NYS, meet income eligibility requirements, and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application as well as a TAP application.

For details on the TAP eligibility requirements and income limits see Tap Eligibility.
Why am I being questioned for Residency?
There are specific requirements that must be met to establish NYS residency. NYS residency is required to receive a TAP award and HESC may ask students for information to demonstrate residency if there is any inconsistent information provided on your FAFSA or TAP application.

To meet NYS residency requirements for student aid, applicant must:
  • currently be a resident of NYS, and
  • have been a resident of NYS for at least 12 months immediately preceding the first term for which the award is being sought, or
  • have been a resident for the last two semesters of high school, or
  • have been a resident of NYS at the time of entry into the armed forces, Peace Corps, or Vista and re-establish NYS residency within six months of release from active duty.

Applying

How do I apply for TAP for the first time?
You must complete both a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a TAP application.

On the online FAFSA, you must indicate that you are a NYS resident and include at least one college located in NYS. At the end of the FASFA, you can link directly to the electronic TAP on the Web application. Within 10 business days of submitting your TAP application, you will receive an email message with instructions on how to check your application status online.
How do I apply for TAP if I missed the direct link from the FAFSA form?
You will be able to apply for TAP online after your FAFSA information is received by HESC. You will receive an email from HESC – usually within three to four days of completing the FAFSA. As long as you indicated that you are a NYS resident and included at least one college located in NYS on your FAFSA, your FAFSA information is automatically sent to HESC. HESC then sends you an email with instructions on how to complete the TAP on the Web application.
I completed my FAFSA already, why can’t I find a TAP application on your website?
If you did not proceed directly to the TAP application when you filed your FAFSA, you must wait until your FAFSA information is processed. Your FAFSA information must be received by HESC for a TAP application to be generated for you. Usually, the FAFSA information is received at HESC within 3-4 business days.
I received TAP last year. Do I have to apply again?
TAP has a multi-year application process, so students who have received TAP in the previous year may not be required to submit a new electronic TAP application.

However, you must submit a FAFSA for each new award year to be considered for the TAP multi-year process.

Each year, after HESC reviews your FAFSA data and your historical information on file at HESC, you will receive an email message from HESC with eligibility and award information if certain multi-year processing criteria are met. You must verify that all information is correct and make changes as necessary through the TAP change form link in the email.

Award Amounts

How much TAP am I eligible for?
Your TAP award is determined by HESC after information submitted on the application, such as income, is verified

To get an idea of your potential TAP award, use the TAP Award Estimator.

When your TAP application is processed, HESC will email you to log into your HESC account to view the status of your TAP award
My school estimated my TAP award on my award letter and my account shows I will be getting less. Why did it change?
The TAP award estimate in your award letter was based on information you provided at the time of application. HESC determines your actual TAP award based on verified information, including your income as verified by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance. As a result, the actual award may differ from your college’s estimate. The college is notified of your actual award.

Income

What are the income limits for TAP?
Student TypeNYS Taxable Income Limit
Dependent undergraduate students or Independent students who are married and have tax dependents, or Independent students who are unmarried and have tax dependents, or beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, students who qualify as an orphan, foster child or ward of the court$80,000
Independent undergraduate students who are married and have no other tax dependents$40,000
Single independent undergraduate students with no tax dependents$10,000
Is pension income included in the calculation of a TAP award and should it be reported on the TAP Application?
Yes, pension income is included in the calculation of a TAP award and therefore should be reported on the TAP Application. Pensions of New York State, local and federal government as well as any private pension and annuities are to be included in the calculation of income used for determining TAP award eligibility and must be reported on the TAP Application.
Is pension income that is exempt from New York State or federal taxation included in the calculation of a TAP award and should it be reported on the TAP Application?
Yes, pension income that is exempt from New York State or federal taxation is included in the calculation of a TAP award and must be reported on the TAP Application.
How is a TAP award calculated if an applicant has pension income only and was not required to file a New York State tax return?
HESC calculates the TAP award using the pension income included on the federal tax return as reported on the FAFSA using the standard deduction and claimed exemptions.

Processing

I have received an electronic award notification telling me that my application was processed. What information should I review?
You should check to be sure that all of the following information on the electronic award notification is correct:
  • Name, address and social security number
  • Social security numbers reported for your spouse and your parents, if applicable
  • College code
    • Only one college code is listed
    • Change it if it is not for the college you will attend
  • Your marital status, and your parent’s marital status, if applicable
  • Income tax filing status for you and your parents, if applicable
    • Choices include: will not file, will file NY return, will file federal only
  • Other family members attending college
It is important to review and correct any errors so your TAP award payment will not be delayed once you start school. Corrections are made online in your HESC account through Student Access.
How long does it take to process my TAP application once I submit all required documentation?
The processing of a TAP application may take three to five weeks.

During certain times of the academic year processing times for "Requests for Information" and "Change Forms" may vary depending on additional review needed for income verification or residency review Your award should be considered an estimate until your college has certified your eligibility for TAP.

Student Status

I don't live with my parents and they don't help me pay for school; why do I need to include their information?
Under the law, students are considered dependent upon their parents for TAP purposes unless they demonstrate that they are independent students. The following chart contains the requirements for independent status:
STUDENT STATUSREQUIREMENTS FOR INDEPENDENT STATUS
MarriedThe applicant must be married on or before December 31st of the calendar year prior to the beginning of the academic year for which application is made.
35 years of age or olderThe applicant has reached the age of 35 on or before June 30th prior to the academic year for which application is made.
22 years of age or olderThe applicant is an undergraduate student who has reached the age of 22 on or before June 30th prior to academic year for which application is made AND who meets the basic conditions.
Under the age of 22The applicant is an undergraduate student who is not 22 years of age on or before July 1st of the academic year for which application is made AND who satisfies both the basic conditions and special conditions.
Military ServiceThe applicant was enlisted in full time active military service, was honorably discharged from such service, and has not and will not be claimed as a dependent by either parent for purposes of either federal or state income tax.
What are the special conditions to qualify as an independent student, and what proof do I need to send?
Condition: You are a ward of the court (not including status as an inmate).
Documentation: Copy of a court order making you a ward of the court or appointing a guardian other than your parents.

Condition: You are receiving public assistance under your own budget and not as a dependent of your parents.
Documentation: Budget statement or other documentation from a social service official showing receipt of public assistance other than food stamps or unemployment insurance. NOTE: Housing Assistance/Budget Letter must be in student’s name.
Condition: There has been an involuntary dissolution of your family resulting in relinquishment of your parents’ responsibility and control.
Documentation: A sworn and signed statement from a person other than yourself or your parents (such as a member of the clergy, a social worker, a legal aid representative, or an official at the facility or institution which has accepted responsibility for your control or care) relating to your family circumstances. The statement must include the specific reasons for relinquishment of parental responsibility and control (such as abandonment by the parents, mental and/or physical abuse by the parents, or parents being neither citizens nor residents of the United States), your relationship to the person making the statement, and how that person has direct knowledge of your family circumstances.

Condition: Both parents are deceased.
Documentation: Copies of death certificates for both parents.

Condition: Both parents have been certified as having a total and permanent disability, or have been declared incompetent by judicial action.
Documentation: Medical certification and court orders. Documentation for both parents is required.

Updating Information

I am not going to the school I originally planned. How can I change my school information?
You may make school code changes online by visiting your HESC account through Student Access. Alternatively, you may make a change to the school code and/or student address by calling the HESC Customer Communication Center at 888-NYS-HESC (888-697-4372) and speaking with a representative. School code changes may also be made using our automated telephone system or through live chat.