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
Stony Brook University

Issued: December 26, 2014
Link to full audit report 2013-T-2

To determine whether Stony Brook University 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.  

Stony Brook University (Stony Brook) is a university within the State University of New York system and is located in Suffolk County on Long Island.  Stony Brook offers 68 undergraduate majors, 80 minors, and more than 100 master’s programs as well as 40 doctoral programs and 30 certificate programs. Stony Brook’s current enrollment is approximately 24,000 students, and its annual tuition for New York State residents is approximately $6,200. 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, 2011, the school certified 39,877 TAP awards totaling $60.6 million that were paid to the school on behalf of 12,352 students.  We reviewed a sample of 175 randomly selected TAP awards paid during the three years ended June 30, 2011 as well as other awards to these students through spring 2013.  

Key Findings

  • We determined that Stony Brook was overpaid $4,170,880 because school officials incorrectly certified students as eligible for TAP awards.
  • Incorrect certifications include 31 students who received awards but did not meet the requirements for full-time status, 23 students who did not maintain good academic standing and 2 students who were not properly matriculated. Many of the incorrect certifications result from students not enrolling in at least 12 credits that were applicable to their designated programs and/or repeating courses for which they had already earned credit.
  • Stony Brook officials indicated that they have taken several measures to improve the propriety of their TAP certification processes.

Key Recommendations

  • The Higher Education Services Corporation should recover $4,170,880, plus applicable interest, from Stony Brook.
  • The State Education Department should work with school officials to help ensure future compliance with the eligibility requirements cited in the report.  

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Tuition Assistance Program - New York Career Institute (2013-T-1)    
Tuition Assistance Program - LaGuardia Community College (2013-T-4)
Tuition Assistance Program - Pratt Institute (2013-T-3)

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