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TAG Eligibility Manual

Downloading the TAG Eligibility Program Download the self extracting TAG program zip file..
  • Go to the start menu and select "Run."
  • Click on "Browse" in the resulting dialog box and navigate to the folder containing the TAG eligibility software.
  • Click on the file "TAG-01-02.EXE" and then click "OK" and then "OK" again.
  • For the actual installation steps proceed to the appropriate section below for the computer's operating system.

Installing the Program

Windows 98 and Above—Installation Procedures
  • Close any open programs.
  • Go to the start menu and select "Run."
  • Click on "Browse" in the resulting dialog box and navigate to the folder containing the TAG eligibility software. Change the file extension from ".zip" to ".exe".
  • Click on the file "SETUP" that has the computer icon next to it and then click "OK" and then "OK" again to run the setup software.
  • Follow on screen prompts and setup will finish the installation.

Special Note: The TAG eligibility program is not intended to operate on a network. The programming was written with use on a single PC in mind.

To Run the TAG Eligibility Program:
Go to the Start menu, then TAGNEW 01-02 and then click on TAGNEW to run the program. 

Selecting the Current Year: < A new feature of the program has been added that allows the institution to select the award year. This feature enables the program to continue to be used from year to year without needing an annual update. To change the award year, click on Close to close out the data entry screen. Click on File, then Select School Year, then select the appropriate award year and click OK. To begin entering student data, click on View then Enter Student Data to bring up the data entry screen.

Understanding the Screen
Five functions are displayed on the tool-bar:


Access the functions below by clicking CLOSE on the bottom right hand side of the display. 

a. Set Up Institution Name: This function enables the user to have the school's name appear on the Reports printouts. Click on the appropriate institution name in the list or customize the header by typing into the field immediately above the list of institutions. CAUTION: Do not type more than 50 characters or an error message may occur and render this function inoperable until the eligibility program is restarted. This process is optional. 

b. Select School Year: Select the appropriate award year. Important: Student data entered into one award year will not appear in other award years. 

c. Delete All Student Records: This function deletes all records in the database. It can be used when the database is corrupted and cannot be repaired. 

d. Repair Database: This function is used when the database has become corrupted. It is used in conjunction with the following function. Use the HELP function for instructions on these features. 

e. Compact Database: The second phase of the repair process listed above. 

f. Exit 


a. Enter Student Data: This function displays the screen containing the student data fields. 


a. Determine Eligibility: This function is used to determine the eligibility status of either the entire database or an individual student. 


 a. Data Entry Verification: This function allows the user to print out all of the fields in the record to verify data entry. 

b. Students: There are six reports that can be run. Each report prints out the student's I.D., name, level, eligibility status, category, and over-ride status (if applicable). 


a. About This Program: This area describes the specifications of the eligibility program. 

b. Help on Entering Student Data: This area lists seven topics that assist the user in various aspects of the eligibility program. They are: 

  • understanding the Dependency, Category, and Status fields,
  • getting the database started with the first record,
  • adding additional records,
  • canceling updates,
  • helpful hints on data entry,
  • how to edit the records, and
  • understanding the error messages.
Along the top of the data entry screen there are five tabs labeled Section A through Section E. These tabs set up the screens to resemble the student's application. 

Along the bottom left-hand side of the screen are four buttons labeled First, Prev, Next, and Last. The buttons are used to move from one record to another and are explained in more detail in the section,

Moving around within the eligibility program. 

The six buttons on the bottom right hand side of the screen manipulate the record being viewed. 
Add - Goes to a blank screen for entering a new student. 
Delete – Deletes the current record. 
Cancel – Removes all changes made to the record since the last time it was saved. 
Save - Saves the current record and any changes. 
Determine Eligibility – Short cut to determining eligibility for a single record. This function does not operate for a new record until after it has been saved. 
Close – Closes the data entry form without exiting the eligibility program. 

Moving Around within the Eligibility Program

Move from field to field by using the TAB key or the mouse.
Move within an individual field by using the arrow keys.
Move from one Section to another by clicking on the Section tab located at the top of the record.
Move between the records by using the buttons located at the bottom left-hand side of the screen.
  • The First button brings up the first record in the database.
  • The Prev button goes to the record immediately preceding the current one.
  • The Next button goes to the record immediately following the current one.
  • The Last button brings up the last record in the database.
Move directly to a specific record by using the search functions found next to the SSN field in Section A.
  • Select SSN is used by clicking on the down arrow. Click on the desired social security number.
  • Enter SSN to retrieve record allows a specific record to be found by typing the social security number into this field and depressing Enter.

Entering Student Data

The first time the eligibility program is entered, first set up the header for the reports. To do this, make sure that the data entry screen is not displayed. If it is, then click on Close. Then go to File / Set Up Institution Name. Highlight the appropriate school or type in a customized header in the field immediately above the list of schools and click OK. This process is optional. 

To begin, click on View / Enter Student Data. If a record has not yet been entered, a screen containing test data will be displayed. This is not the screen that is used to enter a new student record. First click on the Add button to bring up the blank data entry screen. (Please see Adding First Record to Empty Table under the Help / Help on Entering Student Data option). After adding the initial record, go back and delete the test screen from the database. Each time a new record is being added, click the Add button to bring up the new blank record form. 


  1. Enter the student's name as indicated. Only the student's middle initial can be entered, not the name. Include the period after the initial.
  2. Enter the student's social security number. The number can be entered either as nine consecutive digits or in the traditional social security format using hyphens. Use caution in how the number is entered. The eligibility program sorts as characters not numbers. Therefore, when the sort is completed, 333-33-3333 will be come before 333111111. Also, the eligibility program does not identify 333-33-3333 and 333333333 as being the same number. Duplicate entries are possible if care is not taken to be consistent in the format used.
  3. Enter the student's date of birth. The date format is very flexible. However, the recommended format is MM/DD/YY with the preceding 0's optional, (02/08/79 or 2/8/79).
  4. Click on the appropriate gender for the student. Please note, whenever there are "Buttons" listing options, the keyboard is not usable for entry. The mouse must be used.
  5. Enter the student's permanent home phone number. Again, the format is flexible and accepts ten consecutive digits. The program automatically views the first three digits as the area code and checks it against codes located in Virginia. For ease of use, it is recommended that the standard format, (111) 111-1111, be used.
  6. Enter the student's address as requested. Please note that the state code field allows only two characters to be entered. Additional characters produce an error message
  7. Enter the state in which the student has lived during the last two years. If the application lists only the month and year, the first day of the month can be assumed. The eligibility program accounts for all days; therefore, if the student's dates contain gaps, a "Hold" message results. If the gap is only a few days, the data entry person can adjust the dates in order to bridge the gap.
  8. Click on the appropriate options representing what the student has answered on the application.

SECTIONS B through E

Go to each section by clicking the appropriate tab located on the top of the screen. Indicate the answers the student has provided on the application. Follow the same procedures as in Section A.

There is an area in Section E labeled Manual override of Status. Initially, no entry should be made in this area. The eligibility program should evaluate the record first by using the Determine Eligibility function. When using the Manual override of Status, enter the user's initials and the date. A manual override can be canceled by clicking on the blank button in the field.

Editing A Record. An existing record can be edited by putting the cursor in the desired field and either retyping the information or clicking the correct button. Individual characters can be deleted by using the Delete or backspace keys. An entire field can be deleted by using the mouse to highlight the field and then depressing the Delete key. The highlight and delete option is recommended when changing the state fields. Each Section of the record does not need to be saved individually. Save the entire record after all edits have been made.

Saving the RecordWhen entry for the record is complete, the record must be saved by clicking on the Save button. The records are sorted in the database in social security order. Occasionally, the records may not immediately sort. If this happens, the sort automatically takes place when the program is closed and re-entered.

Determining Eligibility
The Determine Eligibility function cannot be used on a new record until it first has been saved. An error message results. If an existing record has been edited, then the changes must be saved. If not, the function ignores the changes. Eligibility can be determined for:
  • The current record being viewed.
    Click on Determine Eligibility button on the bottom of the screen. Be sure to first save the record if any changes have been made or it is a new entry. When complete, the student's results will appear on-screen.
  • An individual record not being viewed.
    Click on the Selected student record option under Tools / Determine Eligibility and then OK. There is an option of either entering the social security number in the blank field or scrolling down the list of social security numbers in the database.
  • The entire database.
    Click on All student's records under Tools / Determine Eligibility and then OK. The records can be viewed one at a time by clicking on the appropriate arrows at the bottom of the form's window. Some difficulties have been encountered when using this function on a large database. Use this function with caution.

Understanding the Codes

N = The student is considered Independent. The eligibility program does not consider the parent/spouse information. 
Y = The student is considered Dependent. The eligibility program evaluates the parent/spouse information. 

= The financial aid office received the student's application by the July 31 deadline. 
3 = The financial aid office received the student's application after July 31 but no later than September 14. 
4 = The student is applying for a spring only award or the financial aid office received the student's application after September 14 but no later than December 1. 
X = The application was received after December 1 or no date was entered. 

Reminder: Spring semester only students, who apply before July 31, should not be funded or included with category 2 students. This restriction applies to initial students who are eligible only in the spring semester. 


A = Accept. The eligibility program has found no Holds that would disqualify the student from receiving TAG. However, the financial aid representative should override this status if there is a reason to believe the student is ineligible to receive the award. The financial aid representative of the institution has the authority and responsibility in authorizing TAG, not the eligibility program. 
H = Hold. The student has Hold messages that need to be resolved before TAG can be awarded. The student may or may not be eligible. 
R = Reject. The student is not eligible for TAG. This status must be entered manually. The eligibility program does not place a student into Reject status automatically. 

Producing Printouts and Reports

  • Printout of individual student status and Hold messages.
    A Determine Eligibility Report is available for each student in the database. When the eligibility is determined for an individual student, or the entire database, a form appears on screen. This form lists the student's I.D., name, dependency status, category, eligibility status, override information, and Hold messages. The form is can be printed by clicking on the printer icon on the bottom of the form window. (The eligibility program uses the system's default printer.) This printout should be made a part of the student's financial aid records or attached to the TAG application.
  • Printout of all data entered into the database.
    A report to verify data entry for the entire database is accessed by clicking on Data Entry Verification under the Reports function. When complete, a form appears on-screen showing the data entered for each student. There are two pages per student and the arrow keys on the bottom of the form's window are used to move from page to page. Use the printer icon to print.
  • Printout of all students by categories.
    Under the Reports option are six sorts on the entire database. Each lists the student's social security number, name, category, and eligibility status. The available sorts are:
    • Name,
    • Status (eligibility),
    • Level,
    • SSN,
    • Hold status, or
    • Category 3 or 4.
Resolving Holds The eligibility program is designed to find any answers the student has provided that may indicate the student is ineligible for TAG or are inconsistent with other answers. The Hold messages should be reviewed individually to determine if they indicate the student is ineligible. An example of an easily resolved Hold message would be: "Q7B: Gap between Lived To Date B and Lived From Date A". This message is resolved if the gap between the dates is only a few days. Some messages serve as warnings to the financial aid representative to perform additional research. For example: "Q10: Received TAG award before – check eligibility units" or "Q19A: Need to verify source of income – Q15A and 19A = No". Other messages may indicate that answers are missing, contradictory, or conflicting with TAG eligibility guidelines. The TAG regulations should be consulted and documents gathered when attempting to resolve Hold messages. Please note that for married students the Hold messages beginning with "Parents…" refer to the spouse. 

Notes on how each Hold message is resolved should be included on the Determine Eligibility Report that is printed out for the student. After the Holds for an individual student are resolved and the financial aid representative knows of no other extenuating circumstance, then the report should be placed in the student's financial aid file or attached to the TAG application and the student should be placed in the Accept status. The person making the final determination should initial the application. If the Manual Override option is used and printed out, be sure to attach the paperwork containing the notes. 

Troubleshooting the Error Messages
When an error message appears, the program should display the probable problem. If not, then the following are some problems that have occurred in the past and possible solutions.
The solutions for the first nine can be found in the troubleshooting area under the Help option.
  1. Couldn't insert (cut) or paste
  2. Couldn't Update, Currently locked
  3. data too long for field
  4. Data Type Conversion Error
  5. File Full message
  6. Invalid Use of Null
  7. No Current Record
  8. Update without AddNew or Edit
  9. The Action was Canceled
In addition to the suggestions in the Help screen, this message can occasionally occur when the PC is running other applications. Close out of any other applications and try again.

Five additional problems:

  1. The full screen cannot be viewed.
    First try clicking the maximize button on the top right-hand corner of the window. Or resolve the problem by changing some of the system settings. Go into the Control Panel (Windows95) and then into the Display settings. If still unsuccessful, then the video card may need to be upgraded. If this does not work, then the system may not be able to support the program.
  2. The eligibility program is giving error messages on missing parent/spouse information, but the student is Independent.
    In determining dependency status, the eligibility program looks at the answers to questions 3, 15, and 16. In the above example, one of these questions is answered in such a way that the eligibility program is considering the student to be Dependent. Check the questions for data entry errors. If the answers are accurate and the eligibility program is still determining a Dependent status, but the student should be Independent, click on the Prof. Judgment button. Make sure that proper documentation is placed in the student's financial aid file to support the decision.
  3. The Reports printouts are blank. No information is being printed.
    One reason for this is if the institution name field is blank. Exit out of Reports and click on Close Form. This clears the screen without exiting out of the eligibility program. Then go to File / Set Up Institution Name. The screen shows a list of school names and two fields. The top field shows what institution was selected. If this field is blank, then the Reports function does not operate properly. Select the appropriate institution name or type in a customized header into the field just above the list of schools, click OK, and exit out. Try the Reports function again. If the Reports function still does not operate, contact SCHEV.
  4. The Student's name is not printing out.
    If the student's name is not printing on the form, check the data entry for a missing middle initial. If the student does not provide a middle initial, type in either an "X" or a period. This solution seems to correct the problem in most cases.
  5. The eligibility program is not saving the record or the record is disappearing.
    The eligibility program has been designed to sort all records by social security number. The sort is supposed to occur when the eligibility program is accessed. The program should store all new records at the end of the database until after the eligibility program is closed and re-entered. However, this function is not consistent. After entering a new record, click the Save button to save it. If the record is not displayed after saving, then it has been sorted into the database. The record can be found by using the social security number search function on Screen A

For any other error messages that appear, please contact SCHEV. Make notes of the exact wording of the message and what process was being run at the time. If possible, make a printout of the screen displaying the error message.

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