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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Letter to the Editor

    To the Editor:

    Nearly 60% of students enrolled full-time at colleges in New York State receive awards from the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). In the 33 years since its creation, TAP has given over $9 billion dollars to students, with awards based on their family’s income. As great as this program is, there is always room for improvement.

    Under current rules, the calculations that determine a student’s TAP award take place only once per year. This means that any money received in the spring will be the same amount as was given in the fall. In most cases that’s fine, but what happens if a student’s need changes? If a parent loses a job, gets called to service in the National Guard or Reserves, or worst of all, passes away, a student’s financial situation can take a dramatic downturn. There is no way for such a student’s TAP award to be adjusted under the current system.

    TAP needs to be updated to a more flexible program that allows mid-year adjustments of awards. There is a bill being considered by the state legislature that would enact such a change. Every student should make it clear to their representatives that they support mid-year TAP adjustments, because every student stands to benefit from them.

    NYPIRG, through its Higher Education Project, is working to convince state legislators to update TAP not only by allowing mid-year adjustments, but also raising income caps and awards for graduate, independent and working or middle-class students; increasing minimum awards; and securing more funding for part-time TAP. Anyone interested in joining the project or just learning more can come to the NYPIRG office in the Union basement room 079.

    -Alex Walsh

    NYPIRG Higher Education Project

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