Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation


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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Tuition Assistance Program - Higher Education Services Corporation
Plaza College

Issued: November 05, 2013
Link to full audit report 2011-T-2

To determine whether Plaza College complied with the Education Law and the Commissioner of Education’s Rules and Regulations when certifying students for State-funded Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards.  

Plaza College (Plaza) is a private postsecondary educational intuition located in Queens County.  Plaza offers certificate and degree programs in business, technology and allied health. Plaza serves approximate 800 students and tuition is about $5,000 per semester.  TAP is an entitlement program designed to provide funds for paying tuition costs to eligible students. Schools receiving TAP payments certify student eligibility. For the three academic years ended June 30, 2009, Plaza certified 4,454 TAP awards totaling $9.4 million that were paid to the school for 1,859 students. We reviewed a sample of 200 randomly-selected TAP awards paid to 190 students, as well as other awards to these students through winter 2011.    

Key Findings

  • We determined that Plaza College was overpaid $549,316 because school officials incorrectly certified students as eligible for TAP awards.
  • Incorrect certifications include 18 students who received awards but did not meet the requirements for full-time status, nine students who did not maintain good academic standing, and four students who did not meet the requirements for accelerated TAP.  Many of these disallowances result from Plaza students enrolling in courses not required for their programs of study.  

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $549,316 plus applicable interest, from Plaza College.  
  • The State Education Department should ensure that school officials comply with requirements relating to full-time attendance, good academic standing, and accelerated TAP payments. 

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Higher Education Services Corporation:SUNY FIT (2010-T-4)
Higher Education Services Corporation: The New School (2010-T-5)
Higher Education Services Corporation: SBI Campus (2011-T-1)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Frank Patone
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236