TN 19 (06-09)

RS 00205.350 Determining Full-Time Attendance (FTA)

A. Policy

The student must meet both State and Federal requirements to establish FTA. Verify FTA preadjudicatively in every case. For instructions about State and Federal FTA requirements, see RS 00205.300.

B. Procedure for verifying FTA

Use Form SSA-1372 to verify attendance. The student must complete and sign page 2 of the SSA-1372, then take the form to a school official to complete page 3, the “Certification by School Official” portion of the form. To verify a student’s school attendance, the school official must answer the questions and complete the remaining fields on the “Certification by School Official” part of the form.

If the school official answers “yes” to questions 1, 2, 4, and 5, and completes question 3 and the signature area, consider the student's school attendance to be verified.

If the school official answers “no” to questions 1, 2, 4, or 5, or he or she does not complete question 3 or the signature area:

  • Contact the school official and the student to resolve any discrepancies;

  • Document the information the school official and student provide (for instructions, see Documenting the Adjudicative Decision in GN 01010.053); and

  • Process the claim (for instructions, see Processing Claims and Conversion Cases for Student Benefits in RS 00205.400D.4. and RS 00205.400F.6.).

Instead of the Form SSA-1372, we can accept a statement the school provides on its own form or letterhead stationery if it gives the same information as the SSA-1372.

Accept a rubber-stamped or mechanical facsimile signature.

Accept other types of evidence worked out by agreement with a particular school if the Assistant Regional Commissioner (ARC), Management Operations and Support, in whose jurisdiction the school is located approves the local procedure.

NOTE: If using other types of evidence (e.g., a letter from the school or a school record), document the nature and acceptability of the evidence.

C. Procedure when a school considers the student in FTA/not in FTA

1. School considers student to be in FTA

Accept the school official's statement that the school considers the student to be in FTA according to its standards and practices for day students.

2. School does not consider student to be in FTA

Inform the student that the school indicates that he or she is not in FTA. Afford the student an opportunity to rebut the accuracy of the report.

Document the file with the student's response and any contacts with the school when reconciling the issue.

Use the school's report to terminate or deny entitlement if the student does not reply.

NOTE: Verify attendance at each school if the student is simultaneously attending more than one school. See RS 00205.350D.3. in this section.

D. Procedure for determining full-time attendance

1. Enrolled for 20 hours weekly attendance

a. General

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 weekly on August 30 and continued through June 1. Consider him in FTA for August through June.

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.

If, however, there is an interval of one or more months between the cessation of 20 hours of weekly attendance and the graduation ceremony, do not consider the student in FTA after the month the 20-hour weekly attendance ceased.

b. Exceptional situations

Document the file with a statement from a school official if, because of special circumstances, the student is unable to schedule attendance of at least 20 hours per week; the school considers the student to be in FTA under its standards and practices; and either:

  • The school does not schedule at least 20 hours per week and attending that school is the student's only reasonable alternative; or

  • The student's medical condition prevents him or her from scheduled attendance of at least 20 hours per week. Obtain appropriate medical evidence from 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, is 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 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.

If, however, 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.

2. Deemed FTA during a period of nonattendance

a. Period of nonattendance

A student can be in deemed FTA during a period of nonattendance if certain conditions are met. For complete instructions, see Deemed Full-Time Attendance During a Period of Nonattendance in RS 00205.320.

A period of nonattendance begins on the first day of the month following the last month in which the student was in FTA.

A period of nonattendance ends on the last day of the month preceding the month in which the student resumes FTA.

If the student is in FTA and reduces his or her subject load to less than full-time or to less than 20 hours of scheduled attendance, ordinarily do not consider the student to be in FTA. For instructions about exceptional situations, see RS 00205.350D.1.b. in this section.

Do not deem a student to be in FTA for the period of nonattendance if the student does not plan to resume FTA at an educational institution (EI).

IMPORTANT: A student who attains age 19 during a period of nonattendance is not deemed to be in FTA. If a student attains age 19 during a period of nonattendance, benefits terminate the month the student attains age 19. For an example of how to terminate benefits to a student who attains age 19 during a period of nonattendance, see When Student Benefits Terminate in RS 00205.325F.4.

b. Intent to return to school

Entitle a student for a period of nonattendance of four calendar months or less if he or she intends to attend or to return to a secondary-level-school program immediately following the period of nonattendance, and the school is an educational institution (EI).

Deem a student who intended to resume FTA timely at an EI, but did not do so, to be in FTA throughout the month in which he or she changed his or her intent. Do not, however, entitle the student for more than four calendar months following the last month he or she was in actual FTA.

EXAMPLE:

Jeff was last in FTA in high school on May 7. He intends to resume FTA at high school on October 25. Jeff’s entitlement can continue uninterrupted since he was a full-time student in May, and he can be deemed to be a full-time student (if all other requirements are met) for the 4-month period from June through September.

c. Establishing intent to return to the same school

Establish intent to resume FTA if the student states that he or she plans to continue FTA at the same school. Consider the student to be in deemed FTA for the period of nonattendance.

d. Establishing intent to attend a different school

Deem the student to be in FTA for the period of nonattendance if the student states that he or she plans to resume FTA at a different school that is an EI. In addition to the SSA-1372 for the period of attendance at the first school, give the student a Form SSA-1372 to complete and take to his or her new school for certification. Inform the student when his or her benefits will end if he or she does not return the completed and certified form timely.

Code the STUD screen (MSOM COMMON 005.029) to terminate the student's benefits the month after the first month of intended FTA at the new school.

If the student returns the new form timely, update the STUD screen.

If the student does not return the form timely, benefits will terminate the month after the first month of intended FTA at the new school.

If the student returns the form after benefits have terminated, treat the SSA-1372 as new and material evidence; do not require a new application unless the period of nonattendance exceeded 4 months.

NOTE: Intent is not established if the student does not specify the name of the new school. Terminate benefits the month after the last month of actual FTA.

If you don’t know whether the new school named by the student is an EI, develop per Determining the EI Status of a School in RS 00205.250.

Entitlement continues, pending an EI determination.

If you determine the school is not an EI, terminate the student benefits the later of either:

  • the month after the last month of actual FTA at an EI; or

  • the month of age 18 attainment.

e. Change of intent

Once intent is established, accept the student's statement of the date when his or her intent changed. If the student does not provide the date when his or her intent changed, use the earlier of either the date of the notice or the date of the new school year as the point in time the student changed intent.

Deem a student to be in FTA for the entire time of nonattendance if all of the following are true:

  • The student’s entitlement is terminated;

  • The student later resumes FTA; and

  • The period of nonattendance does not exceed four calendar months.

f. Terminating event other than change of intent

If a terminating event other than change of intent occurs during the period of nonattendance, terminate benefits the month in which the terminating event occurred.

g. School does not open on schedule

If the school does not open on schedule at the start of a term or closes before completion of a term, deem the student to be in FTA if:

  • He or she has not been suspended or expelled; and

  • The period of nonattendance is four calendar months or less; and

  • He or she establishes intent to be in, or is in, FTA immediately following the period of nonattendance.

h. Student withdraws or is in academic suspension

If a student withdraws or is in academic suspension, deem the student to be in FTA if the period of nonattendance is four calendar months or less. For instructions about deeming a student who withdraws or who is in academic suspension to be in FTA, see Deemed FTA During a Period of Nonattendance in RS 00205.320G.

i. Student is expelled or suspended from school

Do not deem a student to be in FTA for a period during which he or she is expelled or suspended from school for other than academic reasons. For instructions about deeming a student who withdraws or is in academic suspension to be in FTA, see RS 00205.350D.2.h. in this section.

3. Simultaneous attendance at more than one EI

Combine the courses taken at all EIs to determine FTA. Verify FTA at each school, using Form SSA-1372.

EXCEPTION: If the student is in FTA at one of the schools, treat the case as if he or she is only attending that school. Determine whether one of the schools would consider the student to be in FTA if he or she took his or her total subject load at that school. If so, consider the student in FTA.

E. Procedure for determining the length of a course of study

Include the beginning and ending weeks in determining the length of the course.

Entitle the student for the months he or she was in FTA if the course is of at least 13 weeks duration and the student drops out or is dropped before completing 13 school weeks.

EXAMPLE:

Consider a course that begins on Tuesday, September 20, and ends on Wednesday, December 13, to be a course of 13 school weeks. This is true even though the course is less than 13 full calendar weeks in duration.

Because some GED courses are of indefinite length, use the actual time in FTA to determine in those cases whether the duration requirement is met. The student must be in FTA for at least 13 consecutive weeks (see Enrolled in a GED Program in RS 00205.340C.2.).

F. Procedure for grade 12 or below

1. General

Assume that all education provided by an elementary or secondary school is at the 12th grade level or below unless there is reason to believe otherwise.

2. Student is attending a postsecondary school or a vocational/technical school

a. Student enrolled in secondary-level courses

If a student is attending a postsecondary school or a vocational or a technical school, 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.

b. Combining secondary-level courses at more than one school

If a student is simultaneously attending high school and is also enrolled in a high-school-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. She is not in FTA because her scheduled secondary-school-level 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. She receives high-school credit for the community college courses. Kristen is in FTA because she is scheduled for a total of 20 hours of weekly attendance at courses for which she is receiving secondary-school-level credit.


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RS 00205.350 - Determining Full-Time Attendance (FTA) - 03/13/2013
Batch run: 03/13/2013
Rev:03/13/2013