Uncertainty Surrounding Spring College Financial Aid Discussed By Lawmakers

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ALBANY — Tuition Assistance Program and Excelsior Scholarship grants are solidly in place for the current semester, but what will happen to Spring semester funding is undetermined, according to officials with the state’s Higher Education Services Corporation.

HESC officials met with assembly members Tuesday to discuss the uncertain future of college grants.

Officials told lawmakers that Fall 2020 semester tuition assistance programs like the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and Excelsior Scholarship were unaffected for approved recipients, awards for the Spring 2021 semester are undetermined.

Priority for the spring semester will be given to students already receiving awards in accordance with state tuition assistance legislation, says HESC Executive Vice President, Elsa Magee. She says HESC is currently focused on processing fall semester awards and is awaiting guidance from the state before looking ahead to the spring semester.

HESC is waiting to hear from state officials about what a decreased New York revenue will mean for the future of tuition assistance programs.

Students who have already received TAP for eight semesters are not eligible for the program making those who had a COVID-19 related issue that forced them to sign up for additional courses or another semester will not be eligible.

Both the state and the federal governments have put rules forth to help people with student loans that may have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. These include the deferment of federal student loans through Jan. 1, no accounts being sent to collections, and zero percent interest. New York has also temporarily stopped sending loans to collections.

The New York State Education Department says the future of opportunity programs such as the Science and Technology Entry Program and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Programs which help support underserved or poor students, is also in jeopardy from state budget cuts due to loss of revenue.


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