Grant aid like Federal Grants or NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) are often called “free money” or gift aid because a student does not have to repay it. 


Scholarships  are “free money” or gift aid because they do not need to be repaid. Colleges and nonprofit or private organizations may offer scholarships to students. 


Employment, such as Federal Work Study, is also considered self-help aid because a student earns compensation for work performed.


Loans, such as federal loans, are a type of aid that the student or parent must pay back. Because loans have to be repaid, they are considered self-help aid. Repayment usually begins after a student finishes his education or drops below a specified enrollment level. In some situations, all or part of a loan can be canceled or forgiven if the borrower meets certain conditions.

The NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program

The program provides up to 24 months of federal student loan debt relief to recent NYS college graduates (as of December 2014 and after) who are participating in a federal income-driven repayment plan whose payments are generally capped at 10 percent of their discretionary income.

Apply for the NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program.

Aid for Part-Time Study

What is APTS?

The Aid for Part-Time Study program is a grant program financed by New York State in conjunction with participating educational institutions throughout the state. The program provides up to $2,000 per year to help part-time undergraduate students meet their educational expenses.

Apply for the Aid for Part Time Study Program.

Preparatory Coursework

A student not enrolled in a degree or certificate program may be eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans (and a parent may receive Direct PLUS Loans on behalf of a dependent student) for up to one year if he/she/they is taking coursework necessary for enrollment in an eligible program.

  • To be eligible for loans under this exception, the student must be taking classes that are a prerequisite for admission.
  • The courses must be part of an eligible program otherwise offered by the school, though the student does not have to be in that program.
  • If enrolled at least half time in these prerequisite courses, the student is eligible for loans for one consecutive 12-month period (not per program) beginning on the first day of the loan period.
  • If the 12 month period of preparatory courses spans more than one academic year, the student may receive multiple loans.
  • A student who is only taking courses to raise his or her GPA in order to be admitted would not qualify.