Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

Program Overview


The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) helps eligible New York residents attending in-state postsecondary institutions pay for tuition. Depending on the academic year in which the student began study, annual TAP awards can be as much as $2,800 for Hostos Community College students. Because TAP is a grant, it does not have to be paid back!
Who is eligible?

To be eligible for TAP, a student must:
  • Be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • Be a legal resident of New York State (that is, you must have lived in the State for at least one year prior to the first term for which you are seeking payment)
  • Have a high school diploma from a U.S. high school, a recognized GED certificate, or receive a passing score on an approved ability-to-benefit test
  • Not be in default on a student loan guaranteed by HESC and not be in default on any repayment of state awards
  • Meet income eligibility limitations
  • Be charged at least $200 tuition per year
  • Be matriculated in an approved program of study
  • As a full time student, study a combination of at least 3 academic credits and 12 billable credits the first semester, 6 and 12 respectively thereafter, in courses that meet the graduation requirements for your curriculum/major at an approved postsecondary institution in New York
  • Maintain good academic standing and meet program pursuit standards
How to check if you are eligible to receive TAP (using the CUNY Portal)  Go to

On the right hand side under “Welcome to CUNY” Click on “Portal Log In”
Log on by entering your Username and Password
Towards the left look for the “APPLICATIONS / RESOURCES” box, click on “FACTS, Financial Aid Certification Tracking System”
Click on “Financial Aid Certification Tracking System”
To continue you must agree to the terms and conditions stated on that page
As stated, the information shown is an estimate of your Financial Aid eligibility to receive TAP, APTS and HESC Scholarships. It is not the official certification but an attempt to reflect what may be your official eligibility.
Regaining Award Eligibility

When a student does not meet the requirements outlined on the good academic standing chart either by failing to reach program pursuit and/or academic progress standards in any given semester, further NYS awards to the student are suspended. For State aid purposes the student can be said to have lost good academic standing and is therefore ineligible for his or her next award.
There are a number of ways a student may regain eligibility:
  • A student can combine two or more semesters’ work to regain good academic standing, provided that only one of those semesters is paid for through State support.
  • A student may be eligible for a waiver. If the college approves a waiver, the student may continue in the State aid program without interruption.
  • A student who transfers is automatically eligible for State aid in the first semester at the new college even if the student has not met the good academic standards at the college from which he or she transferred.
  • A student who is readmitted into his or her college after an absence of at least one calendar year can become eligible providing he or she meets the college’s readmission requirements.
Eligibility-Related Issues

Students who apply for State awards for the first time after having already attended college are placed on the good academic standing chart in step number one, as being certified for their first payment. Because of this, a student’s academic performance prior to applying for State aid does not enter into consideration in certifying a student for the first payment.

This principle also applies to college credit earned by high school students.
Unresolved (Incomplete) Grades at Time of Certification

In the case where a student has met program pursuit and academic progress standards, but has received an incomplete grade, the student can be certified as eligible for the following semester. If the incomplete grade is subsequently changed to a failure and the student’s GPA falls below the minimum level required for eligibility, the student retains the current award but would be ineligible for continued payments unless work completed during the State-supported semester is sufficient to raise the student’s GPA to at least the required minimum.
How Do I Apply?

Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically at If you apply using FAFSA-on-the-Web, you will be able to link to your online TAP application at the end of the FAFSA session. First, you will be asked to establish a PIN (Personal Identification Number) for TAP. You will need this to apply later, keep track of your application information, or make changes, as needed. After establishing your PIN, you will be able to complete your TAP application online. Information from your FAFSA and your family's calculated NYS net taxable income will be pre-filled on your TAP-on-the-Web application. Follow the instructions provided.

If you don't apply for federal aid online, you can get a paper FAFSA from a high school guidance office, the local library, or your college’s financial aid office. Even if you use a paper FAFSA to apply for federal aid, you may still choose to complete your TAP application on the Web. Approximately 3 weeks after submitting your FAFSA, HESC will notify you by post card or e-mail, telling you that you can go to, establish a PIN, and complete your TAP application online. Follow the online instructions for completing the TAP-on-the-Web application.

If you choose not to apply online, HESC will mail you an Express TAP Application (ETA). Information from your FAFSA and your family’s calculated NYS net taxable income will be preprinted on your ETA.

Review this information, change any incorrect items, complete any missing items, then SIGN AND MAIL THE FORM USING THE RETURN ENVELOPE.

If you have previously received TAP, and your information remains the same, you may only have to file a FAFSA to get an award.
If you provide an e-mail address on your FAFSA, HESC will use that address to contact you about your TAP application, give you processing updates, or award information. Please respond to any requests or instructions sent by HESC.

The TAP application deadline is May 1 of the academic year for which aid is sought.

Complete your online TAP application (A FAFSA must be completed before you can apply for TAP).
New York State Good Academic Standing Standard

Students receiving NYS awards must show evidence of good academic standing by meeting program pursuit standards and reaching specific benchmarks of academic progress. For financial aid purposes, good academic standing consists of two elements:

Program Pursuit and Satisfactory Academic Progress. Program pursuit is defined as completing a certain percentage of degree-specific course work each term. Satisfactory Academic Progress has two components: students must accumulate credits toward the degree at a certain rate and maintain a minimum grade point average in each term a state award payment is received.

An award recipient who fails to maintain good academic standing by not meeting the program pursuit or the academic progress requirement loses eligibility for further NYS awards until he or she is reinstated in good standing. A NYS scholarship may be revoked if the recipient is not reinstated in good academic standing within a reasonable time.

A waiver from these requirements exists to provide qualified students experiencing temporary difficulty in maintaining eligibility with an opportunity to have uninterrupted participation in the state programs. Good academic standing requirements may be waived once.

Program Pursuit 

Program pursuit is determined each time a NYS award is received whether the award is for full-time or part-time study. Half-time TAP awards for accelerated summer study are not considered part-time awards and are factored into the program pursuit calculation differently.
During each semester a NYS award is received, a student must complete a certain percentage of a minimum required course load. The percentage of course work that must be completed each semester becomes greater as a student receives additional payments until the point where a student is required complete the equivalent of 100% of the minimum required course load for any remaining payments.
Students receiving full-time TAP payments are evaluated for program pursuit using 12 semester hours as 100% of a minimum full-time course load. Students receiving APTS are evaluated using 3 semester hours as 100% of a minimum part-time course load.
More specifically, during the first and second semesters of State-supported study, a student must complete 50% of the minimum credits or equated credits required for that payment. 
  • If receiving a full-time TAP payment, a student must complete at least 6 semester hours of credit to meet the 50% program pursuit requirement.
  • For APTS (Aid for Part Time Students) purposes, 50% of the minimum part-time course load is defined as 1.5 semester hours of credit.
During the third and fourth semesters of State-supported study a student must complete 75% of the minimum credits or equated credits required for that payment.
  • If receiving a full-time TAP payment, a student must complete at least 9 semester hours of credit to meet the 75% program pursuit requirement.
  • For APTS purposes, 75% of the minimum part-time course load is defined as 2.25 semester hours of credit.
After the fifth semester of State-supported study, and for every semester thereafter, a student must complete 100% of the minimum credits or equated credits required for that payment. Both degree credits and credit equivalents awarded for remedial work count toward fulfilling the pursuit requirement. In addition, all grades that indicate a student persisted throughout the semester are counted, including second and subsequent “R” grades received for the same course (which are taken to be the equivalent of an “F” grade when determining pursuit or progress). The grades at CUNY that do not count toward meeting the pursuit requirement are “W”, “WU”, “WA”, “WF” and “WN”.
Students receiving Part-Time TAP (P-TAP) are considered to be receiving a strict proration of a full-time TAP award. Therefore, these students are evaluated for program pursuit using the total enrolled semester hours of credit for the term in question and applying to that number the appropriate completion percentage. For example:
  • A student receiving P-TAP for 9 semester hours of credit would have to complete 4.5 (rounded down to 4) semester hours of credit to meet the 50% program pursuit requirement and
  • 6.75 (rounded down to 6) semester hours of credit to meet the 75% program pursuit requirement.
  • A student receiving P-TAP for 11 semester hours of credit would have to complete 5.5 (rounded down to 5) semester hours of credit to meet the 50% program pursuit requirement and
  • 8.25 (rounded down to 8) semester hours of credit to meet the 75% program pursuit requirement.
Once a student receives his or her first State-aid award, he or she is “placed” on the first step of the undergraduate level progress chart. For each full-time or part-time award received, the student moves up one step on the pursuit chart. A student who fails to meet the required percentage of completed course work may not continue to receive State program funds without first re-establishing award eligibility.
The program pursuit requirements are outlined in the chart section.
Academic Progress

To maintain award eligibility, students must meet the academic progress standard for each full-time award semester (that is, each time the student accumulates 6 payment points).

This standard has two components:
  1. Students must accrue a specified number of credits;
  2. Students must achieve a minimum grade point average (GPA).
(See charts)

Accelerated Study

Students can receive an additional term award for attending an additional study term beyond the regular program of study for the academic year. Students can also receive an additional award for half-time summer attendance. At CUNY, the summer term is always the accelerated term and the term evaluation process includes both full-time and part-time summer term enrollment. Accelerated half-time study requires being enrolled for at least six but fewer than 12 credit hours (with a minimum of three real credits). Additionally, to receive an award for halftime accelerated study, the student must have been enrolled as a full-time student in an approved program of study in New York State during the preceding spring term or the next fall term.

In order to be eligible for either a full-time or a half-time award for an accelerated term beginning after January 1, 2007, the student must complete 24 credits at the college of summer attendance in the prior two semesters. These credits may be earned in any combination (i.e., 12 + 12, 6 + 18, etc.). Up to three (3) credits in each of the prior two semesters can be non-credit remedial hours.

Progress criteria for an accelerated award are based upon the same criteria as eligibility for any academic year semester. This means that for an accelerated payment, a student must have achieved in the prior semester both the academic progress and program pursuit standards stipulated on the good academic standing chart for receipt of a “next award.”

Eligibility for an award for accelerated study does not increase a student’s maximum award entitlement under TAP. TAP is still limited to 4 years at the undergraduate level and/or 4 years at the graduate level.
Re-admitted Students

A re-admitted student is one who begins a course of study, leaves, and subsequently returns to that same college. For State aid purposes, a re-admitted student may fall into one of three categories. In each of these, a student is subject to the college’s normal re-admission procedures.  If a student left the college in good academic standing and is then re-admitted, the student is eligible for NYS aid upon returning to the college. If a student left the college after having lost good academic standing and returns to the college after an absence of at least one year, the student is eligible for NYS aid upon returning to the college.

If a student left the college after having lost good academic standing and returns to the college after an absence of less than one year, there are two ways this student can regain eligibility for the first semester of the student’s return:
  • The student is granted the use of a waiver, provided that he or she has not already used the waiver; or
  • The student has made up the deficiency by attending without the benefit of State support another college during the semester of absence from the college of initial enrollment.
Placement on the Chart for Re-admits

Re-admitted students are placed on the Good Academic Standing Chart according to the rules which govern the placement of transfer students.

Transfer Students

Number of Previous Payments

In assessing the financial aid record of a transfer student, a receiving college must determine the number of payments a student has previously received, and whether or not a student has used a waiver. The Higher Education Services Corporation provides payment and waiver information on the payment roster. A college must make the determination as to where to place a transfer student on the progress chart. It can either place the student at the level of credit (defined here as the number of credits assigned by the new college) or at the level corresponding to the number of payments that the student has already received. The choice is determined according to which of the two options would most benefit an individual student. The point where a student is placed on the Good Academic Standing chart and the actual number of payments a student has received may not line up. For a transfer student, as for a student who has received a waiver, the headings in the top row of the progress chart might more appropriately be read as next payment instead of first, second, third, etc. Once placed on the chart, either by virtue of starting at step one or higher, a student must meet the appropriate program pursuit and academic progress standards to maintain eligibility each semester.

TAP Academic Progress Chart

Applies to undergraduate students first receiving aid  in 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 & remedial students first receiving aid in 2010-11 and thereafter (if a student’s first award was in 2010-11 and thereafter, and he/she does not meet the definition of a remedial student, see charts for non-remedial students)
Before Being Certified for This Payment 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
A Student Must Have Accrued at Least This Many Credits 0 3 9 18 30 45
With At Least This Grade Point Average 0 .5 .75 1.3 2.0 2.0
Applies to non-remedial undergraduate students first receiving aid in 2010-11 and thereafter
Before Being Certified for This TAP Payment 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
A Student Must Have Accrued at Least This Many Credits 00 6 15 27 39 51
With at Least This Grade Point Average 00 1.3 1.5 1.8 2.0 2.0
Applies to undergraduate students receiving their first TAP award PRIOR to Fall 2006 (to be used in conjunction with the program pursuit chart of New York State financial assistance regulations effective September 1981, Amended in July 1996):
Before Being Certified for This TAP Payment 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
A Student Must Have a Prior Semester Course % Completion of 00 50 50 75 75 100
Must Have Accrued at Least This Many Credits 00 00 06 18 31 45
With at Least This
Grade Point Average
0.00 0.00 1.00 1.20 2.00 2.00
Related Topics: What is Satisfactory Academic Progress and Program Pursuit?
Change of Curriculum

Academic Progress is assessed based on accumulated credits and GPA earned toward the program of study that student is enrolled in for that term. Therefore, a change of program would exclude credits and grades for courses that no longer count towards the new program and could throw the student out of progress. In moving from one program to another, the basis for calculating both accumulated credits and cumulative GPA is changed and may differ from the cum credits and GPA showing on the transcript. State guidance does specifically prohibit using change of program as a way of circumventing the C average requirement.

A student who changes his or her major while receiving State aid may experience some difficulty in making the adjustment during the transition semester.

Treatment of Remedial Students

A student shall be deemed to be in a program approved by the Commissioner for remedial study if he/she:
  • Indicates the need for remediation for at least two semesters through scores on a recognized college placement exam or a nationally recognized standardized exam, as certified by the college and approved by the State Education Department;
  • Is enrolled in the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) program or the College Discovery (CD) program; or
  • Is or was enrolled in at least six credit hours of noncredit remedial instruction the first semester they received a TAP award.
Students meeting the definition of remedial student will not be subject to the new academic standards but rather will stay on the chart indicating “undergraduate students receiving their first TAP award prior to Fall 2006.
Reminder for TAP Appeal/Waiver - BE ADVISED

You can only appeal if you have not exceeded six semesters of TAP. If you choose to appeal, you must submit your TAP appeal package to the Dean of Students' Office. Appeals are not granted automatically. A committee must review your package and it will take a minimum of five working days to process a response. The decision made by the Committee is final.

Student Appeal Check-Off List: The official documents that will substantiate your unusual circumstances (i.e., letter from the doctor). A detailed letter of explanation, describing the unusual circumstances responsible for your poor performance. Description of the remedial action that you will take to improve your academic performance and reach the requirements for the next semester of TAP eligibility. A copy of your grade transcript.

For more information about the TAP Academic Standards and Appeal Process, please click here.