Frequently Asked Questions
What is New York State Indian Aid?
Native American Indian Aid is financial assistance for eligible Native American students for study in approved, undergraduate programs at New York State institutions of higher education. It is not available for graduate study, for study that is not at college level, nor for study at institutions located outside New York State.
Who is eligible?
New York State residents who are on an official tribal roll of a New York State tribe, or the child of such an enrolled member. New York State tribes include members of the Iroquoian tribes (St. Regis Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca Nation, Tonawanda Band of Seneca, and Tuscarora), the Shinnecock tribe, and the Poospatuck tribe.
Can the aid be used for general support such as room, board, or transportation costs?
Is New York State Indian Aid duplicative of Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Aid?
No. Students may receive both awards. Receiving TAP does not affect a student's eligibility to receive Indian Aid.
What does a student need to do to get aid?
Initially, a student needs to submit the following items:
- A completed application form;
- Proof of high school graduation;
- An official tribal certification form; and
- A letter of acceptance from the college.
After initial approval, a student must notify the Unit of their interest in aid prior to each subsequent semester they wish to receive aid. This may be done by completing a Request for New York State Indian Aid form, which is available here and is mailed to aid recipients each semester they receive aid. In addition, they must submit a satisfactory grade report (2.00 or higher GPA) from the preceding term. These materials should be mailed by the appropriate deadlines (July 15 for the fall semester, December 31 for the spring semester, and May 20 for the summer term).
When should students make requests for aid?
Students should notify the Unit for each semester they wish to receive aid prior to the semester for which aid is desired. For example, if a student wants aid for the spring 2000 semester, he/she should notify the Unit during the fall 1999 semester, and no later than December 31. Students must submit their Request for New York State Indian Aid form before the deadliness listed in #5 in order to receive aid. They should not wait for their grades to request aid, but are required to submit them as soon as they are available to them.
How is aid awarded to students who study on a quarter system?
The same as students on a semester system, with two awards a year - one in the fall, one in spring. Students studying on a quarter schedule must notify the Unit of the number of credits they will be taking for each quarter and submit their grades from each quarter. If students do not register for one or more quarters, or go part-time, aid will be prorated in a manner equivalent to awards made to students on semester systems.
What does the Indigenous Education Unit do with the student's request?
The Unit reviews applications and requests, works with students to complete these items, and approves or disapproves the student for funding. After initial approval, the Unit prepares an official notification letter to the student, stating the length and type of award (two-year/four-year, full-time/part-time) as well as the overall requirements for receiving aid each semester, a confirmation letter to the student listing award information, and a voucher for the college to sign and return. For each semester thereafter, a voucher for the college and a confirmation letter for the students are generated and sent simultaneously. The student is asked to check the details for the award outlined in the confirmation letter and notify the Unit if he/she suspects an error. Also sent with the student confirmation letter is a Request for New York State Indian Aid form to be used, if needed, the following semester to request aid.
What does the college do?
The Bursar or Business Office verifies the student information (enrollment, number of credits, social security number) on the voucher, makes any necessary changes to these items, then signs and returns it to the Unit. Unit staff again review the voucher, sign it, and send it to the State Education Department's finance office for forwarding to the Office of the State Comptroller, where a check is issued and sent directly to the college. The college is to apply the amount toward any current charges the student has with the college. If there is a balance in the student's account after the check is processed, the college issues a check to the student.
What happens if I don't receive my confirmation letter in time for registration?
The student, or college, may call the Unit to verify the upcoming award amount provided your previous semester's grade point average, when submitted, is above 2.00 and a completed Request for New York State Indian Aid form was filed in a timely fashion.
How long does the process take?
From the time the Unit receives the signed voucher back from the school, it takes about six weeks for the school to receive the check.
How can I check to see if the process is working?
You may call the Unit at any time to check the status of your request. The Unit prefers to correspond directly with the student, as communication problems can arise otherwise. Generally, you should check the status of the award if you have not received any correspondence from our office six weeks after your items are submitted. However, if you believe there is a problem or don't remember submitting a required item, do not wait until after the deadline to check on the situation. Keep copies of all correspondence submitted to the Unit. This will help in correcting any problems that occur.
What is academic probation, and how does it affect a student's funding?
Academic probation, for the purposes of New York State Indian Aid, is defined as a grade point average (GPA) below 2.00 for any one semester or term. Aid is denied to students who are on probation. A student may be reinstated to the program and receive subsequent funding if he/she submits a grade report showing satisfactory progress (2.00 GPA or higher) in his/her regular college coursework.
What if a student transfers to another institution?
If a student has been receiving aid and transfers to another institution in New York State, he/she should submit the Request for New York State Indian Aid form with a copy of the acceptance letter from the new institution. If the student is entering a new degree program, the award amount and balance will be recomputed and noted on the student's confirmation letter.