PM 21-02-08: Associate/Bachelor Degree Program

WAG 21-02-08

new textThis section applies to approving a college degree program in the RSP. It is approved under either Associate/Bachelor Degree Program as a Core activity, or under Job Skills Training as a Non-Core activity.

A client's RSP may include participation in a college degree program when the degree will qualify the person for employment in a specific occupation. 

Approve participation under Associate/Bachelor Degree Program ONLY when the person:

  • is in a one Work-Eligible case; and
  • attends college full-time; and
  • meets the grade point average requirement (see below).

If all of these criteria are not met, approve participation under Job Skills Training (see PM 21-03-01).  

Allow one hour of study time for each hour of class attendance when figuring participation hours. 

Grade point average (GPA) requirement:

The grade point average requirement is considered to be met:

  • during the first semester of full-time attendance, while GPA is being established; or 
  • the cumulative GPA is at least 2.5 after the first (or any later) semester; or
  • one additional semester after the cumulative GPA falls below 2.5 to give the client time to bring it back up. 

From 01/99 on, a month of TANF assistance does not count against a one Work-Eligible (legacy Category 04) case caretaker's 60-month limit if the client attends an accredited Associate or Bachelor's degree program full-time and has a cumulative grade-point-average of at least 2.5 on a 4-point scale. Stop the TANF counter when these degree program criteria are met (see PM 03-06-01-d).

Who may participate in the activity:

Approve participation in a college degree program if it appears to be the best choice for the client.

The client must:

  1. have a high school diploma or GED;
  2. enroll in a program administered by a school of higher education accredited by the State Board of Higher Education or the Department of Professional Regulation;
  3. have the ability and interest needed for success in the program, as determined by test results, educational/training background, and talking with the client;
  4. choose a program needed for employment in a recognized occupation;
  5. choose an occupation with job openings available in the area where the client intends to work;
  6. choose the program that is the least costly for supportive services or takes less time to complete, when 2 or more programs are available;
  7. apply for available educational benefits, such as the Pell grant, a monetary award from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, and scholarships and grants identified by the school (loans are optional);
  8. for an Associate degree program, not have an Associate or Bachelor degree;
  9. for a Bachelor degree program, not have a Bachelor degree;
  10. not be in an advanced degree program (beyond a Bachelor degree).

What the activity requires:

  1. The client must complete all scheduled program hours each academic term to maintain satisfactory progress. text deleted 
  2. Proof of participation (i.e., attendance statements signed by the instructor, educational records, and reports) must be provided monthly or more often if requested.
  3. The client must keep a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of C or above if the school uses a grade measurement to determine satisfactory progress.

    If the client's GPA falls below a C in an academic term, the client must improve to a cumulative GPA of C or above by the end of the next academic term. They may have more than one academic term below a C average during enrollment if the terms are not consecutive.

    When grades are not used, satisfactory progress is determined by the written policy of the school. Proof of satisfactory progress must be provided at the end of each term, or twice a year if the program continues for 12 months. 

  4. Curriculum changes can be made only when consistent with the Responsibility and Services Plan.