Eligibility Requirements

Participant Minimum Requirements

  • Be eligible for a university defined target group
  • If under the age of 18, a parent or guardian and the participant must co-apply with you
  • Be an Arizona resident and have lived here for 3 months prior to applying
    » Click here if you are a non-resident for a list of IDA programs in your state
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have a social security or federal tax identification number
  • Have earned income from full or part-time work or be co-applying with a spouse partner, guardian, or parent who has earned income.
  • Have a household earned gross income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level based on household size OR within Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) limits
  • Have net assets that do not exceed $10,000, excluding one vehicle and one home when net worth is calculated

Eligible Income Considered for Total Income

When determining eligibility, gross earned income is used. A household must meet the income requirement for the most recent three consecutive months prior to applying and being granted acceptance into the AZ Earn to Learn IDA program. In order to be income eligible, the applicant’s household earned income must not exceed the income guidelines (200% of Poverty, EITC or TANF eligible) based on the number of people in their household. A household consists of anyone living in the same primary dwelling—this includes spouses, partners, children, parents, and other family members, that share an eating and living space and do not pay for their own food or rent. The IRS definition of Earned Income can be found online here.

Generally speaking, earned income, or money received for services rendered, includes:

Earned Income Not Earned Income
  • All Employment (Wages, salaries, tips) before deductions
  • Net earnings from self-employment
  • Investment Income
  • Rental Income
  • Work study, Americorps stipend
  • Disability Insurance Income (Employer Paid)
  • Spousal/Dependent Income
  • Child support/foster care income from the State
  • Interest, dividends, net rural income, net royalties and receipts from estates or trusts
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Retirement/Pension Income (including Military retirement pay)
  • Disability Insurance Income (Employee Paid)
  • Section 8 Assistance
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Per capita gaming distributions of revenue from gaming activities to tribe members
  • Other Benefits* (TANF, Food Stamps, AHCCCS etc.) 
  • Capital Gains
  • Non-cash benefits (employee fringe benefits, food or housing received in lieu of wages, etc.) 
  • Any assets withdrawals from a bank for the sale of property, a house, or a car
  • Tax refunds, gifts, loans, lump sum inheritances, one-time insurance payments, or injury compensation
  • Any portion of Social Security benefits that will not be reimbursed

Applicants will not be approved until they verify there is earned income in the household from a job or a business. An individual who receives only Social Security income (or any other benefit income) cannot be an IDA Saver because benefit income is not considered earned income. However, if someone else in the household has earned income, the Social Security benefit earner can save using that other person’s earned income. This is because they may save only earned income in their IDAs, reflecting the program’s philosophy that work is central to success in achieving financial stability.

*Note: Enrollment and participation in the IDA Program does not affect any public assistance Savers may be receiving.

Proof of earned income will be required as outlined on the Applicant page.

TABLE A: 200% of Poverty Level Chart 2015 Federal Poverty Level*
          Size of Household                   Gross Earned Income
                      1                              $23,540
                      2                              $31,860
                      3                              $40,180
                      4                              $48,500
                      5                              $56,820
                      6                              $65,140
                      7                              $73,460
                      8                              $81,780
               More than 8            Add $4,160 for each additional person

* Income figures used to determine eligibility for AZ Earn to Learn are set by Assets for Independence (AFI) guidelines and vary by family size. These figures are adjusted annually.

TABLE B: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Limits*
# of Qualifying Children

Max. Income

(Single Parent)

Max. Income

(Married/Filing Jointly)

0 $14,590 $20,020
1 $38,511 $43,941
2 $43,756 $49,186
3 or more $46,997 $52,427

* Investment income must be $3,350 or less for the year.

Net Worth Calculation

All applicant household net worth must be less than $10,000 at the end of the calendar year that proceeded the time of their application.  Applicants must document and meet the net worth eligibility requirement to participate in the AZ Earn to Learn program.  Household net worth is calculated by adding everything that the household owns minus everything that the household owes.  The value of participant’s primary home and one motor vehicle owned by a member of the household will be excluded when calculating household net worth.

Take the Participant Survey now to express your interest in the program. 


Partner University requirements

Throughout the entire process of the AZ Earn to Learn program you will be directed to refer to your specific partner university’s conditions and requirements; review these to further self-assess your eligibility for the program by visiting the Partner Universities page.

Click here to visit the Partner Universities page.