TN 13 (07-00)
RS 00205.310 Scheduled School Attendance
A. Policy - general
Scheduled attendance must be at the rate of at least 20 hours per week. However, if attendance is less than 20 hours per week, a finding of full-time attendance (FTA) may be justified:
If the school's standards do not require at least 20 hours of weekly scheduled attendance for the student to be considered full-time; and
Attending that school is the student's only reasonable alternative; or
If the student's medical condition precludes 20 hours of attendance.
(See RS 00205.310H for developing attendance of less than 20 hours per week.)
NOTE: If the school's standards require more than 20 hours of weekly scheduled attendance for FTA, the student must meet the school's standards.
If the student stopped attending classes and made a decision not to return to school, he/she cannot be considered to be in FTA even if the school has not dropped him/her from the rolls.
B. Policy - what does attendance include
Included in attendance is the time the student spends in:
Supervised study which is available to all students;
Required time for changes in teacher and/or student stations; and
Work which is an integral part of the program of study.
In determining the 20 hours of scheduled attendance, include time the student is working at a job assigned by the school or obtained by or for the student through the school as an integral part of the student's schooling (RS 00205.125A.3.).
C. Policy - month 20 hours of weekly attendance begins and ends
Consider the student to be in FTA for the month that 20 hours of weekly attendance begins or ends.
EXAMPLE: Christopher began attending school at least 20 hours a week on August 30 and continued through June 1. Consider him in FTA for August through June.
D. Policy - 20 hours of weekly attendance in the month of graduation
Consider graduation ceremonies an integral part of school attendance even though the student may not be scheduled for at least 20 hours of weekly attendance for the month of graduation. If the graduation ceremony is held the month following the month 20 hours of weekly attendance ends, consider the student to be in FTA for the month of graduation, even if the ceremony occurs in or after the month of attainment of age 19.
EXAMPLE 1: John's classes ended in May, the last month he was in FTA, and he graduated in June. Since John was in FTA the month before graduation, he can be considered in FTA for the month of graduation even though his last month of FTA was May.
However, if there is an interval of one or more months between the cessation of 20-hour weekly attendance and the graduation ceremony, do not consider the student in FTA after the month the 20-hour weekly attendance ceased.
EXAMPLE 2: John was last in FTA in March; however, he graduated with his class in June when the ceremony was held. The last month he can be considered in FTA was March since there was an interval of more than one month between the last month of FTA and the graduation ceremony.
E. Policy - 20 hours of weekly attendance and simultaneous attendance at more than one Educational Institution (EI)
When a student is simultaneously attending more than one EI, verify attendance at each school and combine the hours from each response to determine FTA. However, if based on the responses it is determined that the student is in FTA at one of the schools, treat the case as if he/she is only attending that school.
If one of the schools would consider the student to be in FTA if his/her total subject load was taken at that school, determine the student to be in FTA.
F. Policy - 20 hours of weekly attendance at a postsecondary or vocational/technical school
If a student is attending a postsecondary school or a vocational/technical school and is taking secondary school level courses and is ordinarily scheduled for at least 20 hours of weekly attendance in an approved secondary school level program, consider the student to be in FTA.
EXAMPLE: Melissa attends a community college that offers a high school level program approved by the local board of education. She is enrolled for 6 hours of regular college level courses and 20 hours of weekly scheduled attendance in the high school level program. Consider Melissa to be a full-time secondary school level student based on her scheduled attendance in the high school level program. In this case, college courses are not material in determining student status.
G. Policy - 20 hours of weekly attendance and simultaneously attending a secondary level school and a postsecondary school
If a student is simultaneously attending a secondary level school and is also enrolled in a secondary level program at a postsecondary school, combine the courses and the scheduled attendance to determine if the student is in FTA.
EXAMPLE 1: Kristen is scheduled to attend public high school classes for 10 hours weekly in the mornings. During the afternoons, Kristen is scheduled for 6 hours of weekly attendance at the local community college to acclimate herself to college level courses. Kristen's high school grants her high school credits for the courses at the community college even though they are not secondary school level courses. The community college also grants her college credits for the courses. The high school does not consider her to be in full-time attendance.
Kristen is not in FTA because her scheduled secondary level school weekly attendance is not at the rate of 20 hours and she has not provided a reasonable explanation for a scheduled classroom attendance of only 16 hours.
EXAMPLE 2: The same situation as above except that Kristen is scheduled for 10 hours of weekly attendance at the local community college. Because she receives high school credit for the community college courses, Kristen is in FTA because she is scheduled for 20 hours of weekly attendance at courses for which she is receiving secondary level school credit.
H. Procedure - documenting weekly attendance of less than 20 hours per week
If the student is unable to schedule attendance of at least 20 hours per week and the school considers the student to be in FTA under its standards and practices:
Document the file with a statement from the school official that the school does not schedule at least 20 hours per week and attending that school is the student's only reasonable alternative; or
Obtain appropriate medical evidence from the student if the student's medical condition prevents him/her from scheduled attendance of at least 20 hours per week.
NOTE: If a medical condition is the reason attendance is less than 20 hours per week, discuss the possibility of disabled child's benefits with the student.
EXAMPLE 1: John stopped attending school at age 16. At age 18, he enrolled for 16 1/2 hours of scheduled classroom attendance in an evening high school program. John explained that he had stopped attending school at age 16 because of illness and now at age 18 was too old to attend a conventional high school. He added that he had enrolled for the maximum number of hours available at the evening high school and that the school considers the evening program equivalent to the day program.
Consider John to be in FTA if the school verifies him to be full-time according to its standards and practices. This is an exceptional situation and John has provided a reasonable explanation for his scheduled classroom attendance of less than 20 hours weekly.
EXAMPLE 2: Patty stopped attending Central High School at age 17. After attaining age 18, she enrolled for 16 1/2 hours of scheduled classroom attendance in an evening high school program. Patty explained that she was pregnant and was embarrassed to return to Central High. She added that she had considered enrolling for 20 hours of weekly classroom attendance at the evening high school but did not because the school considered 16 1/2 hours to be full-time and she could then have more time to pursue her other interests.
Do not consider Patty to be in FTA. This is not an exceptional situation and she did not provide a reasonable explanation for her scheduled classroom attendance of less than 20 hours weekly.
However, if Patty enrolls for less than 20 hours of scheduled attendance for medical reasons based on her physician's advice, consider this an exceptional situation. Document the file accordingly.