What Is a Full-Time Student

What is a full-time student when you don’t meet requirements for classes or credit hours? Learn how enrollment status can affect student loans, financial aid & taxes.

What is a full-time student

A person enrolled full-time in a post-secondary institution may qualify for various tax benefits.

Additionally, a full-time student’s parents or guardians can qualify for additional tax advantages or have additional filing obligations.


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What Is a Full-Time Student?

The legal tax status of a full-time student is significant for figuring out dependent exemptions. The definition of full-time status is determined by the individual’s school.

Both the full-time student and the parents or guardians who are claiming the student as a dependent and/or covering any necessary educational fees have separate tax filing obligations.

Even though full-time students may have different tax obligations, being a full-time student does not automatically exclude one from paying federal income taxes.

The following details must be taken into account by full-time students who are citizens or residents of the United States in order to decide whether they must submit a federal income tax return:

1. Amount of earned and unearned income

2. Your dependency status, meaning if you are considered independent or if someone else is claiming you as a dependent on their tax return.

3. Filing Status

4. Age3

Benefits of Full-Time Student Status

The advantages of full-time study are numerous. Being able to finish school on time or earlier than what would be possible part-time is perhaps one of the most satisfying things.

120 credits are typically needed to get a bachelor’s degree in four years.

The student can anticipate finishing the degree in four years if they enroll in at least 15 credits per semester and attend every session during the academic year.

In contrast, if the student just enrolls in nine credits per semester, the program will be finished in 6.67 years.

Students who want to live on campus at many colleges must be enrolled full-time. Being employed full-time can be the only way for someone to live in a dorm.


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Example of a Full-Time Student

The government’s technical definition of what constitutes a full-time student can be somewhat broad.

For instance, the IRS defines a full-time student as a kid under the age of 19 or an adult child under the age of 24 who is enrolled in an educational program for at least five months out of every year.

In order for the parent or legal guardian to claim the adult kid under the age of 24 as a dependent on their own taxes, the adult child must also not be able to support themselves.

FAQs on What Is a Full-Time Student

Faqs about full-time students

1. What would be considered a full-time student?

Typically, undergraduates are considered full-time college students if they take at least 12 credits in about four classes each semester.

2. How do I know if I’m a full-time student?

Generally, a full-time student is a student enrolled in at least 12 credit hours at a post-secondary academic institution.

However, some schools consider full-time to be at least nine credit hours.

3. How many hours is a full student?

A college student is considered to be enrolled on a full-time basis for student financial aid purposes if they are enrolled for at least 12 credit hours per semester.

4. What is the difference between being a full-time student and part-time?

Full-time student hours mean that a student is generally enrolled in a minimum of twelve credits, or about four classes per semester.

You are considered a part-time student if you are taking fewer than 12 credit hours, usually two to three classes.

5. Is working 20 hours a week a lot for a student?

The amount of hours a student should work during college is close to 15-20 hours per week.

This will help students to stay afloat with payments such as housing, tuition, food, clothing, and transportation, among other necessities.

They may even earn some extra money just for fun.

6. What is a full-time student in the UK?

In a nutshell, a student can work 20 hours in any given week during term time if they are studying a full-time program at a degree level or above.

If you’re studying a full-time program below degree level it’s 10 hours and full time during holiday periods and after your program end date (until your visa expires.)

7. How many hours is 12 credits?

Credits to be earnedHours per week, 7-week courseHours per week, 14-week course
credits72 hours36 hours

8. Do I have to be a full-time student to get FAFSA?

Generally, students need to be enrolled for a minimum of 6-credit hours to be eligible for financial aid.

But, to be eligible for the full financial aid amount, students usually need to be enrolled in 12-credit hours, or be considered full-time students.

9. What are the benefits of being a full-time student?

1. Complete degree faster.

2. You are eligible for a much wider range of scholarships.

3. You are eligible to live on campus.

4. Families of full-time students may be eligible for tax breaks.

10. How many hours is a permanent student in Canada?

This is a great question. International students are eligible to work part-time during their studies and full-time during their breaks when they are in Canada on a valid study visa.

Part-time, as defined, is up to 20 hours per week, and full-time is defined as up to 40 hours per week.

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