Frequently Asked Questions - Ability to Benefit – as of
college has informed me that I need to take an Ability
to Benefit (ATB) exam in order to be eligible for the
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and Scholarships. What
exactly is meant by ATB?
If you do not
have a US high school diploma or recognized equivalent
such as a GED, you must take and pass an ability to
benefit (ATB) exam designated by your school to be
eligible to apply for State aid. The ATB exam
demonstrates the student's ability to benefit from the
an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) from my high
school, is this considered the same as a high school
diploma or GED for State aid purposes?
No, an IEP
diploma is not equivalent to a local or Regents high
school diploma. You must contact your college to
identify the procedures you will need to follow to be
considered for admission. For State aid purposes, you
will still need to take and pass an ATB exam.
I do not
have a high school diploma or GED and have not been home
schooled; however, I have attended college before and
have earned 24 college credits. Can schools accept these
credits in place of an ATB exam?
Yes, if you
have earned 24 credits in the core classes required by
the New York State Education Department you will not be
required to take an ATB exam to be eligible for State
aid. Also, the 24 credits can be used to obtain a GED.
college credits meet the 24 core credits requirement?
To meet the
requirement, the required distribution is: six (6)
credits of English, three (3) credits of humanities,
three (3) credits of social science, three (3) credits
of natural science, three (3) credits of math, six (6)
credits applicable to the student's program.
need to receive the GED if I have the 24 core credits or
do the credits alone meet the ATB requirement?
No, you do
not need to apply for the GED to be eligible to apply
for State aid, however, you should contact your college
directly as it may be an admission requirement.
been to college before, am transferring my credits to
another college and have never received any State aid.
My new school said that I need to take and pass an ATB
exam in order to be eligible to receive any State aid
since I do not have a high school diploma.
Ability to Benefit regulations apply to all students who
are first-time state aid recipients in the 2006-07
academic year or thereafter, who do not have a high
school diploma or its equivalent (GED), unless the
credits already taken satisfy the 24 credit requirement.
currently have a college degree and am continuing with
my education, however, I do not have a high school
diploma or GED. Will I need to take and pass an ATB exam
to be eligible to apply for State aid at my new college?
If you are
seeking to earn a degree and already have earned a
degree from a regionally accredited college or
university or any institution in New York State
authorized by the Board of Regents to confer degrees,
your prior degree can be used to satisfy State
requirements to be used in place of an ATB exam.
graduated from a university outside the United States.
Will my foreign degree allow me to be eligible for State
aid without taking the ATB exam?
degree comes from a college or university that is
recognized by your home country’s Ministry of Education,
you are considered to meet the requirements and do not
have to take an ATB exam.
I have a
non-U.S. high school diploma and have never had any New
York State aid before. Do I qualify for State aid or any
U.S. high school diploma or its equivalent you will need
to take and pass an Ability to Benefit (ATB) exam.
Again, the ATB requirements apply to all students who
are first-time state aid recipients and the exam is
required to be eligible to receive any State aid in the
2006-07 academic year or thereafter.
taken the required ATB exam but have just found out that
I did not pass it. Will I be able to retake the exam?
You will need
to contact your college directly to see what the
requirements are for the specific ATB exam you have
already started at my college and have just found out I
did not pass the ATB exam I took prior to the start of
school. If I retake the exam and pass it this time will
I be able to receive State aid for the term I am
For both the
fall and spring term of academic year 2007-08 you will
be allowed to take and pass an ATB exam up until the end
of the term to be eligible for State aid. However,
beginning with the summer term of 2008 in academic year
2008-09, you must take the exam within the institution's
add/drop period to establish award eligibility in that
been home-schooled. Am I eligible for State aid?
Yes, you will
be eligible to apply for State aid once you have
received a letter from your home school’s district
superintendent attesting to the substantial equivalence
of the homeschooling to the education completed by
public high school graduates.
previously enrolled in a college prior to the start of
the 2006-07 academic school year but due to extenuating
circumstances I had to defer my enrollment to a later
date. I am now being told that I need to take and pass
an ATB exam, however, I was never informed of this when
I first applied. Why do I need to do this now?
required by State law to use the date of actual
enrollment. Since you enrolled but never attended prior
to the 2006-07 academic year, the new State regulations
apply. You must take and pass an ATB exam to be eligible
to apply for State aid.
United States high school diplomas the only high school
diplomas that are acceptable to be eligible for State
Yes. Note: US
high school diplomas include diplomas from the District
of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam
or the Northern Mariana Islands and qualify you to be
eligible to apply for State aid.