Eligibility Requirements

Participant Minimum Requirements

  • Have a desire to or plan to attend Arizona State University (ASU), the University of Arizona (UA), or Northern Arizona University (NAU)
  • Be a high school junior or senior, or a community college transfer student. Exceptions are made for:
    • Native Americans planning to attend NAU
    • ASU students in the SPARKS program
    • In-state high school students who are participating in the Credits 4 College program (C4C) with ASU
  • Be at least 18 years of age or if under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must co-apply with you. Exceptions include:
    • Emancipated teens
    • Teens in the states’s foster care system
  • 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
  • Be a part of a household in which someone has earned income from full or part-time work (such as a spouse, partner, guardian, family member, or parent)
  • 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 (click on links to see charts)
  • 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 prove it meets the income requirement based on its prior year income tax returns (from all household members) or via pay stubs from the most recent three consecutive pay periods prior to applying and being granted acceptance into the Earn to Learn program. In order to be income eligible, the applicant’s household earned income must not exceed the income guidelines (200% of Poverty, unless the household has received the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC] or are eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF]) 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

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

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

TABLE A: 200% of Poverty Level Chart 2016 Federal Poverty Level*
          Size of Household                   Gross Earned Income
                      1                              $23,760
                      2                              $32,040
                      3                              $40,320
                      4                              $48,600
                      5                              $56,880
                      6                              $65,160
                      7                              $73,460
                      8                              $81,780
               More than 8            Add $8,320 for each additional person

* Income figures used to determine eligibility for 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 $14,880 $20,430
1 $39,296 $44,846
2 $44,648 $50,198
3 or more $47,955 $53,505

* 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 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 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.