Yeshiva Students TAP New State Aid

Amid Budget Cuts, N.Y. Jewish Students Get Windfall

TAP Dance: Yeshiva students in New York have benefitted from a change in state law that allows them to receive tuition assistance to the tune of millions.
getty images
TAP Dance: Yeshiva students in New York have benefitted from a change in state law that allows them to receive tuition assistance to the tune of millions.

By Paul Berger

Published November 20, 2012, issue of November 23, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

New York yeshiva students received almost $9 million in state grants during the first half of 2012, thanks to a recent change in state law that made them eligible for the first time for a state-funded financial aid program.

The students, who were previously barred from receiving funds offered by New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program, also claimed $17.2 million dollars in federal Pell grants during the past academic year.

Because the change to New York’s eligibility rules took effect in January, halfway through the academic year, next year’s TAP bill for yeshiva students is likely to be about $18 million, said Neal Warren, director of research for New York State’s Higher Education Services Corporation. The outlays to yeshiva students constitute virtually all the money going to theological students in New York State.

This makes state money about as great a source of revenue for New York’s yeshivas as the better-known federal Pell grant program for low-income students, from which many also receive funds.

Ultra-Orthodox community leaders and the state politicians who represent them have advocated for years that yeshivas ought to be eligible for TAP, which pays out hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the region’s neediest undergraduate students.

Previously, students “obtain[ing] professional instruction in theology” were prohibited from receiving TAP funds. But following a 10-year legislative battle, state lawmakers changed the statute governing TAP in 2011, allowing theological students to apply.

Avi Shafran, a spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox umbrella organization Agudath Israel of America, said in a November 1 email that by opening up grants to yeshiva students, New York was “simply following the federal model (just as many other states do).”

Several other states, including Illinois and New Jersey, have state tuition aid programs for low-income students, to which yeshiva students may apply. But the change in New York State’s eligibility provisions last year came under criticism at the time, in some measure because it was part of budget legislation that cut state aid to public universities and colleges by 10%. The budget at the same time set aside $18 million to fund aid for the newly eligible yeshiva students.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.