Can You Go to College While on Section 8?

By Rachel Cates

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Enacted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Eligibility of Students for Assisted Housing Under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, which took effect in fiscal year 2006, explains the eligibility requirements for students seeking to receive Section 8 housing assistance. The law was intended to guarantee that housing vouchers are granted only to the neediest of applicants.

What Is Section 8?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, is a federal program that assists low-income individuals and families with acquiring affordable housing in the private market. Qualified participants can find the homes of their choice and Section 8 subsidizes a portion of the rent to enable families to inhabit homes they otherwise would not be able to afford.

Eligibility Requirements

According to the "Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States Government," the law states that a full- or part-time student enrolled in an institution of higher learning is ineligible to receive Section 8 benefits under certain conditions. If they are under 24-years-old, not a veteran, are unmarried and do not have a dependent child, they are ineligible. Also, if the student is individually ineligible for Section 8, or has parents who, individually or jointly, are not qualified to receive assistance under Section 8, they may not receive Section 8 monies.

Students Living with Parents

Students who currently reside with their parents in a Section 8 housing unit or are applying for Section 8 benefits with their parents, do not have to meet the criteria defined in Eligibility of Students for Assisted Housing Under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. In this case, the student will be reviewed with their parents by their local Public Housing Authority to determine qualification for Section 8 benefits based upon the following four factors: family definition, income limits, citizenship status and whether applicants have been evicted for drug-related criminal activity.

Background of Law

This law was created to address incidents of college students receiving Section 8 benefits without having their financial aid or parent's wealth counted as part of their income. Prior to the passing of the law, financial aid funds remaining after a student paid tuition could exceed the HUD low-income requirements for Section 8, causing qualified, needy families a delay in receiving benefits, as a result.