Frequently Asked Questions - TAP
Am I eligible for TAP?
The NYS TAP program is intended to cover the tuition costs at New York colleges and schools.
To be eligible for TAP, you must be a New York State resident for 12 consecutive months before the term for which assistance is sought and attend an eligible school or college located in New York State. You must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list a New York State school or college on the form.
How do I apply for TAP for the first time?
You must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list a New York State college or school.
After you confirm the FAFSA submission, you may file the electronic TAP Application online by clicking on the New York State resident link and completing the TAP on the Web application.
After successful completion of the TAP application, you will receive an email message alerting you to check the status of your application. Processing may take up to 10 business days. You will not receive an email message until your electronic application is processed.
How do I apply for TAP if I missed the direct link from the FAFSA form?
You must wait 3 to 4 business days for HESC to receive and process your completed FAFSA information. After successful transmission of your FAFSA information, you will receive an email message directing you to the HESC Web site to complete the TAP on the Web application.
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 new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a Renewal FAFSA for each new award year to be considered for the TAP multi-year process.
Based upon the data reported on the FAFSA and historical information on file at HESC, you will receive an email message from TAP with eligibility and award information if certain multi-year processing criteria are met. You should verify that all information is correct. If any information is incorrect, you should submit a TAP change form. The online TAP change form will appear as a link in the email message you receive.
How much TAP am I eligible for, and when will I receive it?
Your school will estimate your TAP award based on the information you provide to the school. The school will verify your information and then calculate an estimated TAP award. Your actual TAP award, calculated by HESC, may differ from the estimate if any discrepancies arise during the verification process (i.e. income, cost of attendance, family members in school, etc.). To get an idea of your potential TAP award, use the TAP Award Estimator.
You will receive an email directing you to the HESC website to view information about the status of your TAP award.
Your school will see your information on a roster listing students that have received an award for attendance at that school. The school must verify your eligibility and certify your award. The TAP funds will be sent to the school, usually within three to five weeks, after the school certifies your eligibility with New York State.
If your school needs confirmation of how much your TAP award will be before the roster is sent, print your account information from the HESC Web site and provide a copy to the school.
I am not going to the school I originally planned. How can I change my school information?
On your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) you are asked to list the schools you plan to attend. The FAFSA, in turn, is the source of the school code for the TAP application. When you complete the online TAP application, the first New York school you listed on the FAFSA will appear online. If the school is not correct, you must change it when completing the TAP on the Web application.
After your application is processed, you may make school code changes online by visiting Manage My Account.
Alternatively, you may make a change to the school code and/or student address by calling the HESC Customer Communication Center at 1-888-NYS-HESC (1-888-697-4372) or 1-800-445-5234 (TDD) and speaking with a representative. School code changes may also be made using our automated telephone system.
I have received an electronic award notification and I need to make changes. Do I have to use the TAP Change Form? How long does it take to process?
Most changes, except for school code and address changes must be submitted on the TAP change form. The TAP change form generally takes three to four weeks to process.
School code and address changes may be made online by visiting Manage My Account;
you may also request duplicate TAP forms. Certain changes may be made by your school or by speaking with a representative at the HESC Customer Communication Center at 1-888-NYS-HESC (1-888-697-4372).
My school estimated my TAP award and my TAP award certificate shows I will be getting less. Why did it change?
The school gives you an estimate of your TAP award and the estimate is subject to change based upon verification of all of the data.
TAP verifies the New York taxable income with the New York State Tax Department, and if there are any differences in what is originally reported, your actual TAP award may change.
What type of pensions should be included on the TAP Application?
Students and families must include income from state, federal and local government pensions and private pension annuities in the reporting of income for State aid.
If you have pension income only, do you consider the standard deduction?
Yes. The standard deduction and exemptions are taken into consideration and calculated through the Income Verification Process. This calculation may result in a higher award for some applicants.
How long does it take to process my TAP award?
The processing of a TAP award may take three to eight 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. Please keep in mind that awards will not be posted until after the New York State budget has passed. Additionally, all awards should be considered an estimate until your college has certified your eligibility for TAP.
What are the income limits for TAP?Dependent Students
The combined family NYS taxable income cannot exceed $80,000. This includes the parent’s and student’s net taxable income plus any state, local or federal pension income and/or private pension annuities that were excluded on their NYS tax forms. Support amount reported for an excluded parent must also be reported.
Undergraduate Independent Students
Independent students who are single with no tax exemptions claimed on their NYS tax form cannot have a NYS taxable income exceeding $10,000. Independent students who are single with tax dependents claimed on their NYS tax form cannot have an income exceeding $80,000. Independent students who are married with no other tax dependents cannot have an income exceeding $40,000.
I've been a NYS resident my whole life, why am I being questioned for Residency?
To meet NYS residency requirements for student aid, applicant must:
- Currently be a legal 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 legal resident for the last two semesters of high school, or
- Have been a legal 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.
I don't live with my parents and they don't help me pay for school; why do I need to include their information?
A student who is below the age of 22, as of June 30th of the academic year they are applying, will be considered dependent on their parents unless they meet the special conditions for financial independence. As a dependent student you are required to provide your parent's income information.
To qualify as an independent student under the age of 22, the student must meet all of the basic conditions of eligibility PLUS one of five special conditions. Acceptable documentation must be submitted as proof. If the documents submitted do not satisfy the special conditions requirements, the student will be denied for financial independence and must submit their parents’ income information.
Students over the age of 35 are automatically processed as an independent regardless of how the financial independence questions are answered.
What are the special conditions and what proof do I need to send?
Special Conditions of Financial IndependenceCondition
: You are a ward of the court (not including status as an inmate).
: Copy of a court order making you a ward of the court or appointing a guardian other than your parents.
: You are receiving public assistance under your own budget and not as a dependent of your parents.
: Budget statement or other documentation from a social service official showing receipt of public assistance other than food stamps, unemployment insurance, or Social Security benefits.**Housing Assistance/Budget Letter must be in students name
: There has been an involuntary dissolution of your family resulting in relinquishment of your parents’ responsibility and control.
: 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.
: You are a veteran and have been honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces.
: Copy of your DD214 showing an honorable discharge, or other official documentation from the Veterans’ Administration or your branch of the service.
: Parents are deceased, have been certified as having a total and permanent disability, or have been declared incompetent by judicial action.
: Copies of death certificates, medical certification, and court orders. NOTE: Documentation for both parents is required.