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New York finalized a “historic” expansion of the state’s largest higher ed grant, the Tuition Assistance Program, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday. The change raises the maximum household income eligibility threshold from $80,000 per year to $125,000, and increases the minimum award amount to $1,000.

Roughly 93,000 students will benefit from the expansion, including 48,000 who will be newly eligible.

“We are taking significant steps to ensure all New York students have access to the financial support they need to continue their education and become the next generation of leaders in our state,” Hochul said.

The idea was first introduced by lawmakers on the assembly’s higher education committee late last year, and came to fruition through enactment of the fiscal year 2025 budget.

A new report, titled the New York State TAP Difference and released in tandem with the expansion announcement, demonstrates how the program broadens college access, boosts completion rates and fosters educational equity—particularly among low-income and first-generation college students. 

According to the report, 60 percent of TAP recipients for the academic years 2013 and 2014 completed a four-year degree within six years, compared to 26 percent of those who did not receive TAP. The aid program also reduced the gap in completion rates between disadvantaged and advantaged subgroups.

Lawmakers, state education officials and university administrators celebrated the bipartisan victory.

State University of New York chancellor John B. King, Jr. said that when paired with federal and institutional aid, TAP has already made it possible for 52 percent of the system’s in-state students to attend college tuition-free—and that number will only grow. 

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, chair of the higher education committee, described the expansion as a “transformational” change the state has been waiting on for a quarter-century.

“As I’ve said before, nearly 70 percent of students report cost as the most significant barrier to higher education,” Fahy noted. “With New Yorkers citing affordability as their number one concern, this year’s investments in TAP will allow a new generation of students and families the opportunity to pursue their dream of attaining a higher education.”