Student Accountability Initiatives: Learnfare
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Student Accountability Initiatives: Learnfare

Learnfare refers to policies in which eligibility for public assistance grants to minor parents or dependents of grant recipients is conditioned upon the minor parent or dependent's attendance and/or progress towards graduation at school. These policies typically require coordination between the state education agency and social services agency.

Why does it matter? Welfare benefits can serve as a meaningful incentive for students to attend school - and for parents to ensure their children attend school.


Alabama No
Alaska Yes
Notes/Citation: Applicants for assistance who are under 18 must maintain attendance at high school until they receive a diploma or GED. Cash assistance will be reduced for minor parents who do not satisfy this requirement.
Arizona Yes
Notes/Citation: Parents who apply for or receive assistance on behalf of their child, if between six and 16, must ensure that the child is enrolled in and attending school.
Arkansas Yes
Notes/Citation: A minor parent applying for or receiving aid must regularly attend school and make satisfactory progress towards completion as a condition of eligibility.
California Yes
Notes/Citation: All children under 16 in an assistance unit must regularly attend school or the adults in the assistance unit will not be considered when computing the grant of the family.
Colorado Yes
Notes/Citation: Families receiving assistance under the Colorado works program who have dependent children must ensure that they are in regular attendance at school.
Connecticut Yes
Notes/Citation: A minor parent without a high school diploma or its equivalent, who is not married and has a child who is at least twelve weeks of age is ineligible for temporary family assistance unless such parent is participating in educational activities directed toward the attainment of a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Delaware No
District of Columbia Yes
Notes/Citation: A pregnant or parenting teen who is unwed and has not completed high school must regularly attend school to be eligible for federally-funded TANF benefits.
Florida Yes
Notes/Citation: If a participant's child or if the participant is a teen and is habitually truant or drops out, the state will reduce the temporary cash assistance that is otherwise provided.
Georgia Yes
Notes/Citation: A teenager who is included in a parent's TANF grant must attend school or will be removed from the grant the next pay period.
Hawaii Yes
Notes/Citation: Participants in Hawaii's First-to-Work program who are custodial parents under 20 are required to participate in educational activities to be eligible.
Idaho No
Illinois No
Indiana Yes
Notes/Citation: Recipients and children of recipients of assistance from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) must attend school and have less than three unexcused absences if they are of compulsory age or have not graduated from high school or received a GED.
Iowa Yes
Notes/Citation: Parents who are also a minors and are participating in the Family Investment Program must have their high school diploma or GED, or be enrolled full-time in school to be eligible.
Kansas Yes
Notes/Citation: Teen parents who are not married and who have not received a high school diploma or GED, or who are not working towards a high school diploma or GED, are not eligible for temporary assistance.
Kentucky Yes
Notes/Citation: Eligibility for public assistance for needy children is conditioned upon their regular attendance at school.
Louisiana Yes
Notes/Citation: To be eligible to receive aid, minor parents without a high school diploma or GED must attend classes designed to obtain a diploma or GED.
Maine Yes
Notes/Citation: Parents under 20 who are receiving TANF benefits and do not have a high school diploma or GED must participate in the ASPIRE-TANF program and attend classes to complete high school.
Maryland Yes
Notes/Citation: Children under 19 in the Family Investment Program must be enrolled full time in a secondary school or its equivalent to be eligible for aid.
Massachusetts Yes
Notes/Citation: A parent applying for transitional aid for a dependent under 14 must verify that the child is regularly attending school.
Michigan Yes
Notes/Citation: Minor parents receiving family independence assistance must attend school until completion (receipt of diploma).
Minnesota No
Mississippi Yes
Notes/Citation: TANF recipients who are under 20 must have a high school diploma or must be working towards a high school diploma. Also, compulsory aged children who are TANF recipients must meet school attendance requirements for continued eligibility.
Missouri Yes
Notes/Citation: For children 18 and under, eligibility for TANF is determined, in part, by their continued enrollment in school.
Montana No
Nebraska Yes
Notes/Citation: Cash assistance to families with children under 16 may be reduced if the children do not regularly attend school.
Nevada No
New Hampshire No
New Jersey Yes
Notes/Citation: Dependent children who are 16 and older must attend school to continue receiving assistance benefits.
New Mexico Yes
Notes/Citation: Children between 6 and 17 who are in families receiving cash assistance must be enrolled full-time in school. Failure to do so results in the removal of the student's portion of assistance.
New York Yes
Notes/Citation: A child in grades 1 through 6 who is part of a grant of public assistance must attend school and cannot have more than five unexcused absences or the grant will be reduced by $60 for three consecutive months.
North Carolina No
North Dakota No
Ohio Yes
Notes/Citation: A participating student who fails to comply with the attendance requirements two or more times results in a reduction of cash assistance payments.
Oklahoma Yes
Notes/Citation: Each child in a family receiving TANF between kindergarten age and 18 must attend school. Failure to do so results in a 25% reduction penalty.
Oregon No
Pennsylvania Yes
Notes/Citation: Children between eight and 18 are required to attend school without attendance problems for continued eligibility for aid under AFDC.
Rhode Island Yes
Notes/Citation: Parents under 20 who are receiving cash assistance and who do not have a high school diploma or GED must regularly attend a program to obtain a diploma or GED.
South Carolina Yes
Notes/Citation: Welfare recipients under the age of eighteen must be enrolled and maintain satisfactory attendance, as defined by the department of education, as a condition of eligibility for benefits.
South Dakota No
Tennessee Yes
Notes/Citation: Children in families receiving temporary assistance must attend school (including kindergarten) for continued eligibility.
Texas No
Utah Yes
Notes/Citation: Minor parents who are single and who do not have a high school diploma must attend school 20 hours per week to be eligible for cash assistance.
Vermont Yes
Notes/Citation: Parents under 18 must attend school or appropriate alternative education activities for eligibility for aid.
Virginia Yes
Notes/Citation: In order to be eligible for TANF, minor parents must be in compliance with the school's compulsory attendance requirements. Failure to attend will result in the loss of benefits.
Washington Yes
Notes/Citation: Children under 19 receiving TANF benefits must regularly attend school and must be making satisfactory progress towards completion.
West Virginia No
Wisconsin Yes
Notes/Citation: All teenagers who have not graduated from high school and are included in an assistance grant must attend school to meet the eligibility requirements.
Wyoming Yes
Notes/Citation: Minors who have completed the eighth grade or who are 16 must attend high school for the family to receive their monthly performance payment.
Puerto Rico Yes
Notes/Citation: Children under 18 in a family receiving assistance must attend school to continue to be eligible.
Virgin Islands No

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