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TAP decertified in the middle of semester because of STEM incentive?

saitama123saitama123 19 replies19 threads Junior Member
I applied for the NYS STEM incentive program and was selected as a recipient. My tuition was already covered by TAP and college tuition credit, so it was a silly thing to do. I thought I could apply STEM toward fees.

I got an email a few weeks ago saying I no longer have my tuition credit or TAP award. I followed up with financial aid and they told me to contact HESC. After a week of contacting back and forth, HESC told me that they had to temporarily remove my award to put me on a STEM roster, which doesn't make any sense because scholarships and TAP are supposed to be handled separately.

I'm enrolled in a monthly payment plan and my last payment for the semester is due the 15th of this month. I've been stressed about this for the past three weeks. My financial aid TAP office pretty much said I should just wait until they put me on a STEM roster. What am I supposed to do in this scenario? I have already contacted both my financial aid office and HESC about five times each.
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Replies to: TAP decertified in the middle of semester because of STEM incentive?

  • mommdcmommdc 11434 replies31 threads Senior Member
    @sybbie719 any ideas?
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  • mommdcmommdc 11434 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I have limited knowledge of this but I believe each of these grants, Excelsior tuition grant, TAP, STEM initiative can only be used towards tuition.

    So if you have tuition covered, the remaining costs will be fees and room and board if you live on campus.

    Have you been making prior payments? How much is each payment, not counting tuition?

    Are your parents helping you pay for school? Can you get a job to help pay the balance?

    If you qualify for a tuition credit and the school is replacing one award with another, they shouldn't bill you for this I would think.

    I wonder though if it wouldn't be better to utilize the TAP and Excelsior, rather than STEM award.

    What if you change your major later to a non STEM one or one that's not approved by the STEM initiative? They require a 2.5 GPA to be maintained and I believe you have to be working in NYS for five years after graduation. Excelsior only requires you to work in NYS for the number of years you received the scholarship I think.
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20756 replies2011 threads Super Moderator
    You have to wait, they will eventually get it straightened out Since financial aid knows they will get paid from the state, it is unlikely that they will drop your registration. You cannot double dip. The STEM incentive only covers tuition so you cannot use the money for fees, room, board books etc. There are no income constraints on receiving a STEM scholarship.

    TAP only covers tuition. I guess would be that they would apply TAP first ( since it is state aid ) and use the STEM scholarship to cover the balance of your tuition. Most NYS programs (STEM/Excelsior) are last payers, which means the balance of your tuition is paid after entitlement aid us applied.

    Are you getting full TAP? It may have been in your best interest to get TAP, pass on the stem scholarship and the strings attached (having to stay and work in NYS for 5 years or it turns into a loan), making sure your program is very planned because it leaves very little wiggle room as far as which courses will be covered. I think that I’d you had full TAP, you may have been better served to get a job. To cover the ~$1000 tuition difference or look for a departmental scholarship as these options would have given you more freedom.
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  • mommdcmommdc 11434 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I just did some reading of FAQs on the HESC website and it seems that the Excelsior and STEM award have quite different terms.

    For the STEM it seems you also need to be continuously working in an approved profession after graduation for 5 years, in NYS.

    And it says that if the grant converts to a loan you need to pay it back within 10 years with interest.

    When I read the FAQ for Excelsior, it said that you need to live and work in NYS for the number of years you received the award, and if it converts to a loan, it will be interest free and repayable within 10 years.

    So I think you should contact HESC to confirm that this is true and read the terms of these programs very closely.

    Would your family qualify income wise for Excelsior and/or TAP for all four years?
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20756 replies2011 threads Super Moderator
    No matter which option you take, unless you are in an opportunity program they will only cover 4 years of tuition.
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  • saitama123saitama123 19 replies19 threads Junior Member
    I know that STEM only covers tuition. I didn't realize my entire tuition was going to be covered by TAP and tuition credit. I thought there was a difference. That was my huge mistake. It did not make sense for me to apply for the award. But I can't step back now since I signed a service contract.

    I am dorming, so my TAP(full) and tuition credit were going into tuition, FAFSA toward fees and some housing, and I took out a subsidized loan to pay for housing. My parent contributed a little bit as well. But since I'm on a monthly plan, my last payment just went up by $3500. I took a certain amount of money for my first year of college from my parents and this really messes up the whole plan.

    Since STEM award is a last payer, shouldn't my TAP award stay intact? They told me they temporarily removed it, but they also said they are putting me on a STEM roster. If the money I get later is from TAP, I shouldn't have any STEM obligation because even if I breach the service contract (I had to sign one saying I would work in NYS for five years), I wouldn't have any balance to pay off as a loan (since TAP and tuition credit would cover all of it). But if the money came from STEM scholarship, which would happen if my TAP got affected because of the STEM award, then I would have an obligation to stay in NYS. But this shouldn't happen because STEM is supposed to be last payer.

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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20756 replies2011 threads Super Moderator
    edited November 7
    @saitama wrote:
    Since STEM award is a last payer, shouldn't my TAP award stay intact? They told me they temporarily removed it, but they also said they are putting me on a STEM roster. If the money I get later is from TAP, I shouldn't have any STEM obligation because even if I breach the service contract (I had to sign one saying I would work in NYS for five years), I wouldn't have any balance to pay off as a loan (since TAP and tuition credit would cover all of it). But if the money came from STEM scholarship, which would happen if my TAP got affected because of the STEM award, then I would have an obligation to stay in NYS. But this shouldn't happen because STEM is supposed to be last payer.

    from HESC

    How does TAP affect my STEM award?

    If you are a STEM recipient who will also be receiving a TAP award, TAP and other forms of tuition-only aid may offset the amount of the STEM Incentive Program award you receive. Eligible students will be awarded TAP first. Any remaining tuition costs will be covered by the STEM Incentive Program award, up to the maximum award amount.

    https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid/nys-grants-scholarships-awards/nys-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem-incentive-program/nys-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem-incentive-program-faqs.html

    Remember TAP does not cover full tuition. So even if they are using your tap to offset the scholarship, if you take scholarship money you are bound to the contract and you would owe all of the money
    edited November 7
    Post edited by sybbie719 on
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  • saitama123saitama123 19 replies19 threads Junior Member
    The tuition credit is contingent on TAP and TAP and tuition credit together cover my full tuition. So there's nothing left for STEM to cover.
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  • mommdcmommdc 11434 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I am not sure but I think STEM award will replace tuition credit.

    Did you previously apply for Excelsior?
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20756 replies2011 threads Super Moderator
    You need to read your contract. Once you sign up for STEM it does not matter if you had enough TAP to cover your tuition (this was reason enough for you not to sign up for STEM because you were not receiving any benefit), your contact with STEM superceedes your other stuff and you would be responsible for repaying the money
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  • saitama123saitama123 19 replies19 threads Junior Member
    But there is no money left to pay if STEM is a last payer, right?

    I didn't apply for excelsior.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75179 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    He did you apply for the STEM scholarship if all your tuition was covered already?
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