You asked whether Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy (“Bridgescape”)  based in the State of Illinois, may be considered an educational institution (EI)
for purposes of awarding student benefits. For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that Bridgescape Chicago qualifies as
Claimant B~ is seeking child’s insurance benefits due to her reported status as a
full-time student at Bridgescape Chicago.
The agency uses Form SSA-1372-BK as the primary means for determining whether a child
is a full-time student at a qualifying educational institution. POMS RS 00205.735. The claimant submitted a SSA-1372-BK dated May 14, 2014, indicating that she was
scheduled to attend Bridgescape Chicago (25 hours per week) for the 2014-2015 academic
year; she also indicated that she expected to graduate in June 2015. The SSA 1372-BK
was certified by the Bridgescape Principal on May 14, 2014. The Bridgescape Principal
certified that the information the claimant had provided on the SSA 1372-BK was correct,
and that the school’s course of study was at least 13 weeks in duration.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, Bridgescape is recognized by the
State of Illinois as a provider of school education for grades 9-12. 
The Social Security Act (Act) provides for the payment of child insurance benefits
to certain children of individuals who are entitled to old-age or disability insurance
benefits or who died as fully or currently insured individuals. See Section 202(d)(1) of Act. As relevant here, to qualify for student benefits, a claimant
must be at least 18 years old but under age 19 and a full-time elementary or secondary
school student. See Section 202(d)(1)(B) of the Act; 20 C.F.R. §404.350(1)(5). If the claimant is not
under a disability, benefits terminate when she turns 19 years old, regardless of
her educational status. See Section 202(d)(1)(F)(ii) of the Act.
“Elementary or secondary school” is defined as “a school which provides elementary
or secondary education, respectively, as determined under the law of the State or
other jurisdiction in which it is located.” Section 202(d)(7)(C)(i) of the Act; see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a). The POMS refers to such a school as an “educational institution”
(EI). See POMS RS 00205.200A. Under the POMS, it is generally assumed that American public schools are EIs, absent
evidence to the contrary; a non-public school cannot be assumed to be an EI. See POMS RS 00205.250B.
The Act defines “full-time elementary or secondary school student” as an individual
who is in full-time attendance at an elementary or secondary school, as determined
by the Commissioner of Social Security by regulation. See Section 202(d)(7)(a) of the Act; see also 20 C.F.R. §404.367.
Bridgescape Chicago is an Educational Institution
To be considered an educational institution for purposes of receiving child insurance
benefits, a school must provide elementary or secondary school education as determined
under the law of the state or other jurisdiction in which it is located. See Section
202(d)(7)(C)(i) of the Act; 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.200A. Public schools are assumed to be EIs under POMS RS 00205.250, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
The Illinois School Code allows for the establishment of Alternative Learning Opportunity
Programs by local school districts. 105 ILCS § 5/13B. Pursuant to § 13B-10 of the
School Code, Alternative Learning Opportunity Programs “are intended to provide students
at risk of academic failure with the education and support services needed to meet
Illinois Learning Standards and to complete their education in an orderly, safe, and
secure learning environment.” 105 ILCS § 5/13B-10. Additionally, all staff employed
by an Alternative Learning Opportunity Program must be certified by the State of Illinois.
105 ILCS § 5/13B-65; 23 IL Admin. Code § 240.30(f).
According to its website, Bridgescape is a blended learning program for dropout prevention
and recovery, with a primary goal of achieving a high school diploma. 
A school district may contract with other entities, including non-profit or for-profit
education providers, to establish Alternative Learning Opportunity Programs within
the public school system. 105 ILCS § 5/13B-20.10; see 23 IL Administrative Code § 240.10 (a school district may provide instructional services
through a subcontractor if the entity is recognized by the State Board of Education).
Bridgescape Program Director J~ confirmed that Bridgescape Chicago contracts with
the Chicago Public School System to provide an Alternative Learning Opportunity Program
based out of four Chicagoland campuses. And as noted above, Bridgescape Chicago is
recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education, and is included in the state’s
Directory of Educational Entities. 
Finally, pursuant to 105 ILCS § 13B-45, an Alternative Learning Opportunities Program
is required to provide students with a minimum of 174 days of actual attendance and
5 daily hours as required for a students at Illinois public schools. 105 ILCS §§ 5/13B-45,
5/10-19, 5/18-8.05(F). Bridgestone Program Director J~ confirmed that Bridgescape
academic year calendar mirrors that of the Chicago Public School system. Both the
Bridgescape website and Program Director J~ confirmed that the Bridgescape program
includes 4 hours of daily classroom time. However, Program Director J~ advised that
students are also required to complete a minimum of one hour of independent work daily
in addition to the four hours of classroom time. This combination of 4 hours of classwork
and 1 hour of independent work satisfies the daily attendance requirements of an Alternative
Learning Opportunity Program under 105 ILCS § 5/13B-45.
Based on the foregoing, we conclude that Bridgescape qualifies as an EI pursuant to
POMS RS 00205.250(B). Information received from Bridgescape, the Illinois State Board of Education,
as well as publicly available information, demonstrates that Bridgescape operates
as an Alternative Learning Opportunity Program in compliance with Illinois law, and
accordingly, that it meets the requirements of an EI for purposes of awarding child
insurance benefits. 
For the reasons discussed above, Bridgescape Chicago qualifies as an Educational Institution,
as sufficient evidence indicates that it is an institution that provides an education
“as determined under the law of the State” of Illinois. In addition, the claimant
meets the requirements for full-time attendance.
Acting Regional Chief Counsel, Region V
Assistant Regional Counsel