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Student TAP Coach - Ability to Benefit

If you do not have a diploma from a high school in the United States or the recognized equivalent (for example, a GED), there is a third possibility for establishing eligibility for TAP and other New York State financial assistance to help pay for college: demonstrating the “ability to benefit” from the education offered.

(Note: for home schooled students, a letter from local school district officials confirming that you have received an education “substantially equivalent” to instruction received by students graduating high school in the public schools is recognized as the equivalent of a high school diploma.)

The New York State Board of Regents has identified the following four federally approved ability-to-benefit (ATB) tests that students can take to establish their eligibility for State financial aid: Accuplacer, ASSET, COMPASS, and CELSA (Combined English Language Skills Assessment). The CELSA is approved providing the applicant also takes a math component from one of the other approved tests.

The college you are planning to attend will select one of these tests.

You should take the ATB test before beginning study, but must be tested within the add/drop period or within 30 days of the first day of classes, whichever is earlier at your college.

The requirement regarding the four acceptable ATB tests applies to students at eligible degree-granting institutions receiving their first award in 2007-2008 or thereafter. Students who received their first award prior to the 2007-2008 academic year are not affected and may be tested using other federally approved ATB tests.

If you plan to attend college full time on an early admission basis before receiving your high school diploma, you can take an ATB test to be eligible for TAP.