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.

Read more at the Forward.