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ERIC Number: ED555639
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Tapped Out
González-Rivera, Christian
Center for an Urban Future
New York's community colleges have a key role to play in elevating poor and working poor New Yorkers into the ranks of the middle class. The economy is producing few decent-paying jobs for people with only a high school diploma, and community colleges offer the most accessible path for people to obtain a post-secondary credential. However, tens of thousands of New Yorkers who can only afford to enroll in these institutions on a part-time basis are struggling to remain in school long enough to earn a credential-and one of the biggest reasons is the state's outdated financial aid system, which effectively bars part-timers from benefiting from the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). The TAP program is comparatively generous in other ways, but New York is one of only 14 states to sharply limit access to part-time students. The state's eligibility rules require that students be enrolled full-time for two consecutive semesters before they can enroll part-time and still qualify for TAP. Once they meet these requirements, students are only eligible for a total of six semesters of schooling. These restrictions are a big reason why so few part-time students who enroll in community colleges actually earn a degree or professional certification. Nationally, research has found that student debt and lack of access to financial aid are the key problems associated with low completion rates. Recommended solutions include the following: (1) Eliminate the requirement that students attend full-time for two consecutive semesters before receiving Part-Time TAP (PTAP) and pro-rate awards to the number of credits attempted; (2) Start a pilot program extending TAP to a select group of part-time students and evaluate the results; (3) Fold TAP, PTAP, and APTS into one centralized New York State financial aid system with eligibility based solely on income; (4) Extend the TAP eligibility window to ensure students are supported throughout their college careers; and (5) Make TAP available in the summer. [Additional research support was provided by Barbara Wijering-van Wijk and Esther Kim.]
Center for an Urban Future. 120 Wall Street 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005. Tel: 212-479-3341; Fax: 212-344-6457; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Working Poor Families Project
Authoring Institution: Center for an Urban Future
Identifiers - Location: California; Illinois; New York