What Does Attending College At Least Half Time Mean?

Full-time student is a tax status that depends on what the person’s school considers full-time. To qualify for this, a student must be enrolled in an educational program for at least as many hours or credit hours as the school considers to be fit for full-time. Different tax filing requirements apply to both the full-time student and the parent or guardian, who must claim the student as a dependent and/or pay for educational expenses. In this article we shall see What Does Attending College At Least Half Time Mean?

What Does Attending College At Least Half Time Mean?

Definition of “at least half time in college”

A full-time student is one who generally devotes more time to his or her degree than a part-time student. For example, students who take at least 12 credit hours at the university are considered full-time students and are classified as such by the university. 

I am enrolled in college half time, what does it mean?

Most two-year colleges and community colleges require full-time status if you want to receive financial aid. A school’s definition of full-time usually means 12 or 13 credit hours per semester or six classes. The average workload at a 4-year university is 15 to 17 credit hours per semester, which is considered full-time. An academic year, which consists of two semesters, lasts eight to ten weeks. The number of hours of instruction per day varies depending on the type of class.

How do I know half time in college for student loans?

This is a really good question. Have a look at it like this. If you are enrolled for 12 or more credit hours, you are a full-time student. If you are enrolled for 9 to 11 credit hours, you are a three-quarter-time student. Having enrolled for 6 to 8 credit hours, you are a half-time student. If you are enrolled for less than 6 credit hours, you are less than half-time.

How many classes are considered full-time in college?

If you attend at least four classes you are considered full-time student this turns out to be 12 credits.

How many credits I can consider as half time?

Typically 2-3 classes or six credits.

Half Time Enrolment and Student Loan Grace Period

The grace period is a “waiting period” or the time between when you graduate or fall below the half-time rate and when you begin repaying your federal student loan. Generally, your grace period is tied to each Direct Loan and begins to run once you are no longer enrolled at least half-time. When you return to school, your loans will stop accruing interest while they are deferred, but they will continue to accrue interest during your grace period. Once the grace period ends, any unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to your loan amount). And if you do not have an outstanding balance on your loan at that time, the grace period will reset and begin again once you graduate or are no longer half-time enrolled.

For example, if you graduate less than half-time in the fall, 4 months of the 6-month grace period will be used up. If you are enrolled half-time once more in the spring and then graduate, your loans will receive the 6-month grace period and you will not have to begin repayment until six months after graduation.

 Now, if you graduate less than half-time in both the fall and spring semesters, you will have used up all of your grace period. You can start repaying your loan immediately. If you return to school the following fall, the loans will be deferred, but when you graduate, they will be repaid immediately with no grace period, which means you must begin repayment immediately.

How Student Loan is Impacted if you fall below 12 credits?

Impacts on your aid eligibility:

If you fall below the minimum number of credits required to receive the grant, your grant may be adjusted. If you receive a federal Pell Grant and drop from 12 credits to 9 credits, your grant may be prorated. Read more information about the Pell count date. If you receive a Pennsylvania State Grant and drop from full-time to half-time or from half-time to part-time, your grant may be reduced. If you have a loan that requires a minimum number of credits and the loan has not yet been disbursed, you may no longer be eligible for the loan. Loan eligibility is determined at the time of disbursement.

What is the Impact of Enrolment Status on my Tax Deductions?

Federal income tax filing requirements vary for full-time students, but any U.S. citizen enrolled in a degree program with at least half-time work will most likely be required to file a federal tax return if his or her income exceeds certain thresholds.

  • Amount of earned and unearned income.
  • Your dependency status, meaning either you are independent or someone else claims you as a dependent on their tax return.
  • Tax return status and age.


Everyone has their own definition of full-time student. However, as a general rule, this is anyone who is enrolled at least half-time. If a person is taking fewer than 12 credit hours and their enrolment status is listed on the school portal as part of full-time enrolment, they are still considered a part-time student.

The IRS specifically states that a full-time student is a person who generally spends more than 12 hours per week and performs at least half of the normal workload of a full-time student in a prescribed educational program and attends that school at least half-time.

Unless otherwise specified, a full-time student meets the credit hour criterion, not the number of hours of instruction. Thus, if an online college offers 20 percent courses equivalent to 3 hours of instruction per week and 15 percent courses equivalent to 4 hours of instruction per week, then a student would need to attend at least 6 semester hours or 9 quarter hours to be considered a full-time student for tax purposes.

If your college or college considers you a full-time student, then you are, regardless of how many credit hours you take. So keep your eye on the ball and let Uncle Sam know you mean business when it comes to getting your diploma.

A full-time student is very different than a part-time student. The difference is primarily in the amount of time you spend in school. While part-time students spend three to six hours per week, full-time students are enrolled in at least 12 college hours or courses per semester. There are certain tax benefits for both types of students. However, there are other benefits for full-time students. Unlike part-time students, they can receive scholarships and loans with a small income check.