Most state and some federal financial aid programs have residency requirements. State programs require that students be residents of the state for 12 months before the semester in which they are to receive aid. Still others, including most federal financial aid programs, require only that the student be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Applying for New York State Financial Aid Using the FAFSA:
Students who complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and indicate New York as their state of residency will automatically have their FAFSA information sent to the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). HESC uses the student's FAFSA information to make a preliminary determination of eligibility for the TAP Grant and other New York State Award Programs.
Eligibility for New York State sponsored scholarships, grants and loans is limited to students who meet the New York State residency requirements. New York State considers three factors when determining residency — institutional responsibility, legal residence, and the duration of residency.
HESC consults the student's colleges to request information if a student's residency status is questionable. Examples of information that a college or university could provide include: an out-of-state high school diploma, an out-of-state permanent address, billing records sent to parents at an out-of-state address, an out-of state driver's license. When records indicate questionable residency status, colleges will request documentation from the student to make a determination.
Legal residence means that the student currently resides in New York State and intends to remain in New York after graduation. The act of simply living in New York State does not demonstrate residency. The student must provide documentation establishing a permanent home. Documentation can consist of a lease and utility bills in the student's name. Living in the state solely for the purposes of attending college does not, in itself, constitute legal residency.
In addition to providing information on permanent housing, students should note that other factors can be considered to help you claim legal residence in New York State. Providing a New York State driver's license and/or documentation of employment within the state can add to your claim of residency.
If a student is financially dependent — meaning that the parent can claim the student as a dependent for tax purposes — HESC presumes the student's legal residence is that of their parents. If the parents are divorced or separated, HESC presumes the legal residence to be that of the custodial parent.
Duration of Residency
A student must be a legal resident of New York State for a minimum of 12 months before the semester in which state financial aid is sought.
Exception: Undergraduate students who have not been legal residents of New York State for at least 12 months can satisfy this requirement if they are currently legal residents and were legal residents during the last two semesters of high school, regardless of any intervening time spent outside New York State.
Non-residents who begin full-time study in New York State during their first year of residing in New York State are not eligible for state-sponsored student aid, even though they may have resided in New York State for 12 months or longer.
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