Assemblyman José Rivera Dear Neighbor,

While a higher education is a valuable tool for competing in today’s workforce, the decision to go to college often leaves students and their families wondering how they’ll cover the costs. That’s why the New York State Assembly has made student financial aid a top priority.

This brochure contains helpful information on state and federal financial aid programs available to help students meet the costs of college.

For more information on any of these programs, students should contact their college financial aid office or their high school guidance counselor. If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office. I wish you the best of luck in the college program you choose.

José Rivera
Member of Assembly

One Fordham Plaza, Suite 1008
Bronx, NY 10458
A number of state programs make pursuing higher education affordable for New York students
TAP. The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), New York’s largest grant program, helps eligible New York residents attending in-state colleges and universities pay for tuition. TAP grants range from $500 to $5,000 and are based on net taxable income.

To learn more, or to apply for TAP, visit

529 College Savings Program. New York State offers 529 plans, programs that provide a flexible, convenient and low-cost way to save for college. The program features a wide range of investment choices, tax-free withdrawals when used for qualified higher-education expenses and contributions that are state-tax deductible up to $5,000 annually for individuals and $10,000 for jointly filing New York State residents.

For more information, visit:

NYHELPS. A state loan program that will begin the spring semester of 2010 offers students (if they have a co-signer), parents, legal guardians or sponsors a loan equaling the cost of their attendance minus all other federal and state financial aid (excluding federal PLUS loans) or $10,000 annually.

TEACH Grant. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides grants up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.

Aid for Part-Time Study. The Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) program provides grant assistance for eligible part-time students enrolled in approved undergraduate studies. Awards provide up to $2,000 per year for part-time undergraduate study at participating institutions in New York State.

College Tuition Tax Credit. If you, your spouse, or a dependent attended an institution of higher education as an undergraduate and paid qualified tuition expenses you may be eligible for the college tuition tax credit — up to $400 per student.

For more information, visit:

Veterans Tuition Awards. These awards apply for full-time study and part-time study for eligible veterans matriculated at an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting institution or in an approved vocational training program in New York State. The 2009-10 academic year award amount is 98 percent of up to the full cost of undergraduate tuition for New York State residents at the State University of New York, or actual tuition charged, whichever is less. Awards for part-time students are determined by credit hour.
For a full list of available state scholarships, grants and awards, visit:

Opportunity Programs
New York provides funds for academically challenged and economically disadvantaged state residents for programs which combine supplemental financial assistance, counseling, tutoring, special summer programs and remedial course work.

Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) assists students attending independent colleges and universities in New York State.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) assists undergraduates enrolled at participating SUNY and community college campuses.

Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) grants are available to senior colleges of the City University of New York.

College Discovery (CD) grants are provided to students of the City University of New York’s community colleges.

Loan Forgiveness Programs
Under certain conditions, you may have all or part of your Stafford and Perkins loans forgiven or cancelled. You do not have to repay the amounts that are forgiven. Loan forgiveness programs are available to certain attorneys, social workers, physicians, nurses and teachers who meet eligibility requirements.

To learn more, visit
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Federal aid and tuition savings programs
Federal Pell Grants. Federal Pell Grants are given to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. Pell Grants are awarded based on financial need and applicants can receive up to $5,350 for the 2009-10 award year.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). The FSEOG is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need; students who receive Federal Pell Grants have priority. FSEOGs are awarded by a college’s financial aid office and awards range from $100 to $4,000 per year.

SMART. The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant is available during the third and fourth years of undergraduate study (or fifth year of a five-year program) to at least half-time students who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and who are majoring in physical, life or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering, a critical foreign language or a non-major single liberal arts program. Qualifying students can receive up to $4,000 for each of the third and fourth years of undergraduate study.

ACG. An Academic Competitiveness Grant provides $750 for the first year of study and $1,300 for the second year. Qualifying students must have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study and, if a first-year student, not have been previously enrolled in an ACG-eligible program while at or below age of compulsory school attendance. Second-year students must have at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA at the end of the first year of undergraduate study.

Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized). The Federal Stafford Loan Program helps cover the cost of an undergraduate and graduate education by allowing a student to take out subsidized and unsubsidized loans that are guaranteed by HESC.

Federal Perkins Loan. A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan for both undergraduate and graduate students. The school acts as the lender and the amount of the loan depends on financial need, other aid and the availability of funds at the school. The borrower must repay the loan to the school.

Federal Parent PLUS Loan. The Federal Parent PLUS Loan program helps parents pay the education expenses of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time.

Federal Graduate/Professional Student PLUS Loan. The Federal Graduate/Professional Student Loan program helps qualifying students pay the difference between the financial aid they have already received and the cost of attendance.

Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. This credit may be claimed for the qualified tuition and related expenses of the students in the taxpayer’s family (the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse or an eligible dependent) who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. A maximum credit of $2,000 is available per year.

Student Loan Interest Deduction. This deduction allows students or their families to take a tax deduction for interest paid during the year for repayment on student loans.

Federal Work-Study (FWS). The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay their education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to each student’s course of study. FWS is administered by the college financial aid office.

For more information about federal aid programs, visit