Please help us make sure that your student remains eligible for TAP, the Tuition Assistance Program of the state of New York. TAP, as you probably know, is the principal form of financial aid from New York State. The most recent budget adopted by the New York State Legislature mandated a number of changes in the TAP program that will make it more difficult for students to maintain their TAP eligibility. It also reduced every TAP award by $75. Because these changes probably indicate the direction that TAP will continue to evolve, it is important that students understand their responsibilities to maintain TAP eligibility.
· The number of credits that must be earned to stay eligible has increased: Non-remedial students first receiving their state awards in 2007-08 and thereafter must earn a minimum of 30 credits (previously requiring 21 credits) and a 2.0 GPA (previously requiring a 1.3 GPA) before being certified for payment in the fourth semester. If your student needed to complete remedial classes at the point of admission, the GPA requirement applies to his/her fifth semester.
· Students should make every effort to finish all of the classes for which they registered. As a rule, all students should weigh the impact that withdrawing from classes could have on their TAP awards. You can help by recommending your student to consult with the Financial Aid Office before making any program change that could endanger his/her TAP eligibility.
· Given the increase in the number of non-remedial courses that must be earned, it is essential that students finish any necessary remediation quickly. Otherwise, they will find it extremely difficult to earn the required number of non-remedial credits to retain TAP eligibility. Please help them avoid the mistake of thinking that remedial classes are not as important as the classes in their major; finishing remediation will be essential to maintaining TAP eligibility (and can help in retaining a federal Pell grant, also).
· Everything we can see on the horizon suggests that eligibility requirements will continue to become harder. It would be a mistake to think that the recent changes will be reversed any time soon. If students find themselves slipping behind the standards, they should think about registering for classes or workshops during the winter intersession or during the summer. If they are having difficulties in one or more of their classes, they should take advantage of the tutoring and other services offered by the College. They should speak to their instructors, who can often help them get back on track. You can help: be supportive, be encouraging. You could also encourage elected officials to protect TAP from further cuts. Education is an investment, not an expense!
The TAP eligibility standards are likely to continue to change. The most recent standards are found on the website of the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), the agency that administers TAP. The most recent changes are found at
Future changes will always be found on the HESC site.
All of this is pretty complex information. However, we think it is important to get it to you as we learn it, so that you can remain in control of your education and are able to maintain TAP funding.