Part-Time TAP Eligibility for Students with Disabilities

On July 14, 1998 Governor Pataki signed Senate Bill 7072 into law as Chapter 332 of the Laws of 1998. This law provides that students who are disabled, as defined by the 1990 Federal Americans with Disabilities Act, do not have to be in full-time attendance to be eligible for Tuition Assistance Program payments. These students are now eligible for TAP if they are attending part-time, as defined by the commissioner of education.

Under prior law, regulation and policy, students with disabilities who attended school part-time because of their disability were eligible for a TAP award payment only after the number of credits they took equaled the number necessary to be considered a full-time student. This was usually after two or more semesters. Chapter 332 provides these students are eligible for a partial TAP award payment in the first term in which they attend on a part-time basis. The law does not require students with disabilities to attend part-time; students with disabilities who attend full-time continue to be eligible, as any other student, for a full TAP award.

For the purposes of application processing, students with disabilities should follow the same procedures as other students. New York State Higher Education Services Corporation will continue to calculate a full-time TAP award for any eligible student who applies. Schools will be asked to certify the eligibility of students with disabilities who are attending less than full-time for a part-time TAP award. Once the school certifies a student's eligibility, HESC will calculate the part-time TAP award and post it to the remittance advice. New York State Higher Education Services Corporation will then notify the student of the award by issuing an award certificate.

The new law did not change any of the other TAP eligibility requirements, including that students be matriculated in a program of study, be in good academic standing, or have achieved a C average at the completion of their second academic year. New York State Higher Education Services Corporation is working with the State Education Department to further define how these existing TAP requirements will be applied to these students.

Students should send written documentation of their disability from a qualified professional (e.g., physician or psychologist) and a written request for ADA Part-Time TAP to:

Kelly Hermann
Statewide Coordinator of Disabilities and International Student Liaison
Empire State College
2 Union Ave.
Saratoga Springs NY 12866
Kelly.Hermann@esc.edu

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