Eligibility for New York State Financial Aid
Good Academic Standing
Students who receive any NYS financial awards are required to maintain good academic standing as defined by the regulation’s of the NYS commissioner of education in order to remain eligible for state financial aid. The regulations define a student in good academic standing as one who:
- pursues the program of study in which s/he is enrolled (pursuit of program),
- makes satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of his/her program’s requirements.
In addition, New York State Education Law requires
- if receiving grades, students must maintain a grade point average (G.P.A.) of 2.0 or better after having received four full-time New York state financial aid payments or the equivalent in part-time funds. However, it is important to note that the graduate programs require a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
There are three criteria for maintaining good academic standing: “pursuit of program,” “satisfactory academic progress” and “grade point average.”
Students who do not meet the requirements for pursuit of program, satisfactory academic progress and grade point average lose their eligibility for NYS financial aid. To remain eligible for NYS financial aid, a student must satisfy all applicable criteria.
Pursuit of Program
The first criterion for maintaining good academic standing for eligibility for NYS financial aid is pursuit of program. To be in pursuit of program, a student must receive either a passing or a failing outcome in a certain percentage of studies each term, depending on the number of state aid payments the student has received (which may be different from the number of enrollment terms at the college). The required percentage is illustrated in the pursuit of program table for full-time students who have received funds under the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
An outcome that indicates that the student substantively engaged in a study or course through the enrollment term is necessary to satisfy the “pursuit of program” requirement. Both passing and failing outcomes are acceptable. An incomplete (IN) is acceptable as long as it changes to either a passing or failing outcome within 16 weeks of the end date of the study. However, a withdrawal (WD) or administrative withdrawal (ZW) outcome does not meet the requirement for pursuit of program, because it indicates no substantial engagement in a study or course over the full enrollment term.
Empire State College Pursuit of Program Table*
|Number of full-time terms in which NYS financial aid has been received (e.g., through TAP)**||Must receive a FC, EP, NC or IN*** for:|
|1, 2||50 percent of minimum full-time requirement (5 credit hours)|
|3, 4||75 percent of minimum full-time requirement (7 credit hours)|
|5 or more||100 percent of minimum full-time requirement (9 credit hours|
* The table illustrates expectations for full-time (9 or more credits) enrollment. A student who enrolls on a less than full-time basis must make progress proportionate to what is illustrated in the table.
** The number of terms refers to the number of state aid payments the student has received, which may be different from the number of enrollments at Empire State College.
*** An incomplete (IN) outcome must become a passing or failing outcome by the end of the next term to satisfy the pursuit of program requirement.
A student must earn a grade, CR, NC or IN outcome for the percentage of studies designated in the table for each term of enrollment, to be eligible for NYS aid in the next term. For example, a student who has received two TAP payments must have outcomes that meet the pursuit of program standard for at least 5 credits in the second enrollment (i.e., 50 percent of the 9 credit minimum for full-time enrollment status), to be eligible for any NYS aid in the third enrollment.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
The second criterion for maintaining good academic standing for eligibility for NYS financial aid is satisfactory academic progress (SAP).
To achieve and maintain satisfactory academic progress status, a student must accumulate a minimum number of credits over time. The graduate satisfactory academic progress table specifies the minimum number of credits the student must accumulate to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
Students who do not meet the minimum academic progress requirements (on academic warning for unsatisfactory academic progress) are not eligible for NYS financial aid.
Grade Point Average (for those receiving narrative-only evaluations)
The third criterion for maintaining good academic standing for eligibility for NYS financial aid is the grade point average (G.P.A.). Students receiving grades must maintain a 2.0 or better after receiving four full-time New York state financial aid payments. All NYS aid payments are counted regardless of when they were made or what institution the student attended. A student who is new to Empire State College is assumed to meet the minimum G.P.A. requirement. The college uses only Empire State College studies to compute the G.P.A. thereafter. The table below provides the minimum G.P.A. required to maintain eligibility for New York state financial eligibility after each payment.
However, it is important to note that the graduate programs require a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
The Effect of Withdrawal
If a student withdraws from a course, his/her enrollment status, SAP rate, and/or state aid eligibility may be affected, depending on the effective date of the withdrawal and the number of state aid payments the student has already received (see pursuit of program table). A withdrawal is not included in the calculation of the G.P.A. Therefore, it does not affect a student’s G.P.A.
In calculating enrollment status and rate of progress, “credit attempted” is the number of registered credits after day 28 of the enrollment term. Thus, the date of withdrawal affects whether the credits are counted in the number of credits attempted. For example, for a student who first enrolls for 12 credits and then withdraws from one 4-credit course on or before day 28, the enrollment status for the term changes to part time and the progress rate is calculated on 8 credits attempted. If the student withdraws after day 28, the enrollment status for the term is still full time and the progress rate is calculated on 12 credits attempted.
If a full-time student withdraws after day 28 and incurs full tuition liability, s/he will lose TAP for the next term if s/he does not meet the pursuit of program standard for the current term. If the student withdraws before day 28 and tuition falls below the full-time rate, the student’s TAP award for the current term is cancelled. Further information may be obtained from Student Financial Services.
The Effect of Administrative Withdrawals
New York state regulations for financial aid establish course completion expectations. If a student receives an outcome of administrative withdrawal (ZW) for a course, his/her SAP rate is affected and state aid eligibility may be affected for the student’s next enrollment depending on the number of state aid payments the student has already received (see pursuit of program table). An administrative withdrawal outcome is not included in the calculation of the G.P.A. Therefore, it does not affect a student’s G.P.A.
A ZW outcome may mean the amount of the student’s financial aid award is reduced or the student is required to pay back some or all of the NYS financial aid awarded. The amount depends on the last date of contact or “attendance.” Further information may be obtained from Student Financial Services.
Financial Aid Eligibility Assessment
The college assesses student eligibility for New York state financial aid at two points in each enrollment:
- On the date the enrollment officially starts, the student must meet citizenship, residency, high school graduation and good academic standing requirements. If the student fails to meet any of these requirements on the first day of the enrollment, s/he is not eligible for New York state financial aid for the enrollment term.
- By the 28th day of the enrollment term, the student must meet the full-time study requirements and must be fully matriculated (admitted as a degree-seeking student) at the college. A student who fails to meet enrollment requirements by day 28 is not eligible for NYS financial aid. A student who is not matriculated by day 28 is not eligible for NYS financial aid.
Regaining Eligibility for New York State Financial Aid
A student may regain eligibility for NYS financial aid through one of the following four methods:
- Meeting the standard the student failed to meet previously, during an enrollment term in which no state award is paid.
- A student who failed to meet the pursuit of program standard may regain eligibility by meeting the pursuit of program standard in a subsequent term in which the student receives no state aid.
- A student who failed to meet the satisfactory academic progress standard may regain eligibility by accumulating the number of credits required to make satisfactory academic progress, through additional enrollment(s) for which the student receives no state aid.
- Being readmitted and/or reinstated at Empire State College after an absence of at least one calendar year and after the student provides evidence in writing to the center administrator of his/her ability to successfully complete a degree program. A student who is readmitted and/or reinstated after failure to make satisfactory progress must meet the credit accrual requirement the student failed to meet prior to losing eligibility within the next 9 credits of enrollment.
- Transferring to another institution.
- Applying for and receiving a one-time waiver.
Students receiving grades must have a cumulative G.P.A. of 2.0 if they have received four or more full-time payments. A student repositioned on the SAP chart must still meet the minimum G.P.A. requirements for the number of NYS aid payments s/he has received. However, it is important to note that the graduate programs require a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
One-time Waiver of Eligibility Standards for New York State Awards:
A student who fails to meet the state standards for pursuit of program and/or satisfactory academic progress may request a one-time waiver of these standards. A waiver is possible only in extraordinary or unusual situations. A waiver enables the student to receive NYS aid for one additional enrollment term.
New York state permits only one waiver at the graduate level. This applies across all institutions attended. The director of student financial services may grant a waiver when the student fails to meet the pursuit of program standard, fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress standard, or fails to meet both standards in the same term. However, failure to meet the pursuit of program and satisfactory academic progress may not result in two separate waivers.
The one-time waiver is not automatic. The student may request a waiver for his/her most recent enrollment. Approval of a request for a one-time waiver occurs in two parts:
- Students must complete the Appeal for Federal Title IV Financial Aid Eligibility form and submit it with appropriate documentation to the dean. If approved academically by the dean, then the request is reviewed by the Mitigating Circumstance Committee to determine eligibility for financial aid. In certain instances, a student may regain academic eligibility but not financial aid eligibility.
- The Mitigating Circumstance Committee determines that the request meets New York state requirements for a waiver of financial aid regulations.
The Mitigating Circumstance Committee approves the waiver only if both parts of the process are complete and the academic and New York state requirements are met. Students must submit the information required for both parts to the dean, using the required form.
When a one-time waiver is granted for failure to make satisfactory academic progress, the last term of enrollment does not count negatively in determining satisfactory academic progress for New York state financial aid purposes. The student must meet the credit accrual requirement s/he failed to meet before losing eligibility within the next 9 credits of enrollment.
Note: The one-time waiver has no direct effect on enrollment eligibility, which is an academic determination upon which the waiver is contingent.
Repeat of Courses with Credit Awarded
Repeat of any course for which credit has been awarded and that the college does not require the student to repeat may not be considered part of that student's course load for financial aid purposes. Students can receive state aid to repeat courses for which they earned no credit.
If a student is repeating a course in which s/he earned a passing grade initially, the student will not earn credit twice. When a student completes a repeated course, the college uses the most recent grade of the two courses in calculating the student’s G.P.A. However, both courses count as credit attempted in calculating SAP, but only one course counts in the calculation of credits earned. The first course taken receives a grade that indicates that it has been repeated and does not count as credits earned or in the G.P.A. calculation.
Notification of Ineligibility for State Financial Aid Awards
Student Financial Services notifies students regarding their ineligibility for further NYS financial aid. Students may obtain information on their financial aid status by contacting Student Financial Services.
Procedural State Adopted: February 2002, Revised April 2003 and April 7, 2004.
To be eligible for a summer TAP payment a graduate student must have been a full-time student during the prior spring term and have completed 18 degree-applicable credits in the two terms prior to the summer term at Empire State College. This criterion must be met each time an accelerated award is sought. Transfer credits cannot be counted towards the full time or 18 credit requirement.