Student Eligibility

Student's Guide to the PFD

The following information is for students attending college outside of Alaska.

Don't lose your PFD while you are away at school!

Congratulations! You graduated from high school and left Alaska to continue your education. Now that you are living outside of Alaska, PFD will take a closer look at your application and more information will be required from you. It is important to carefully read and answer all the questions, follow the directions completely and provide all of the additional forms requested. Your application will be denied if you do not provide all of the requested information timely. Reading and understanding the following guidelines will help you maintain your eligibility during your education absence from Alaska.

Attendance at School

  1. If your school charges resident and non-resident tuition rates, you must pay non-resident tuition in order to remain qualified for the dividend, unless you qualify for a waiver that is not based on a claim of residency outside of Alaska. Each year your school’s registrar’s office will verify what type of tuition you are paying. Any exceptions must be explained by the registrar’s office.
  2. You must be enrolled and attend as a full-time student in good standing. In your last academic year before graduation, and carrying enough credits to graduate, ONE part-time term is okay. Your school’s registrar will verify your enrollment status.
  3. Many students take part-time or even full-time jobs while attending school. Make sure you do not claim residency in another state in your employment records.
  4. If you are required to file a state income tax return to report wages earned, file as a non-resident if the option is available. Some states may require you to file a part-year or resident return. The requirements for each state are different and it is your responsibility to research the state income tax guidelines thoroughly before you file the return. This also applies if you are required to file an income tax return in another country. How you file your tax return could cost you your dividend.
  5. If you register to vote in another state, even in a voter registration drive on campus, it will affect your eligibility. If you are not registered to vote in Alaska, you can register to vote in Alaska by mail and vote absentee. Visit Division of Elections for more information.

Absence Guidelines

Review the 72-Hour Rule, and 5 Year Rule for specific instructions and requirements for maintaining eligibility for the Permanent Fund Dividend while outside of Alaska on an allowable absence.

Absent from Alaska and not attending school full-time

Alaska Statute provides that a student may be absent from Alaska 120 days in addition to full-time enrollment and attendance at school. Be careful not to exceed 120 days. Taking one or two courses during the summer is not full-time enrollment and attendance.

Words to the Wise

  1. When applying for your dividend, read the application carefully and answer ALL questions required on the application. Complete both the front and back if you are using the paper application. When answering the question “Are you physically present in Alaska today?” answer “No” if you are not physically present in Alaska at the immediate time you are answering the question, and filling out your application or mailing it from outside Alaska.
  2. Complete the Adult Supplemental Schedule also. When answering the question “Do you intend to return to Alaska to remain indefinitely and make your principal home in the state?”, we want to know if you are returning to Alaska to live after you finish your education. For example, if you are in a four year program, we want to know if you will be returning to Alaska to live at the end of the four year program.
  3. Reply to any correspondence PFD mails or emails to you. Answer any and all clarifying questions and send in additional forms or documentation if requested. Your application will be denied if you do not provide requested information timely.
  4. You are required to supply the names, addresses and phone numbers of two Alaska residents over the age of eighteen on the verifier section of the application.
  5. Keep a record of the dates that you are absent from Alaska AND keep all of your airline boarding passes, ferry receipts or travel receipts in your records to provide proof that you returned to Alaska for at least 72 consecutive hours every two years. Airline mileage plan statements are also helpful records. You may or may not need the proof in the current year but you may need the information for future Dividend applications to show that you met the 72 hour return requirement.
  6. Save proof for your records that you submitted the PFD application. If mailed, a USPS Certified Return Receipt is considered proof. If the application is filed online, print a copy of the Congratulations page that indicates your confirmation number.
  7. Because you are over the age of eighteen, your parents cannot file for you or inquire about the status of your Dividend unless PFD has a copy of a Power of Attorney(POA) authorizing the to do PFD business for you. It is your responsibility to contact PFD with any questions or provide a valid POA.

The Law

Going to school may be an "allowable absence" under the dividend program.

Alaska statute 43.23.008(a)(1) reads that an otherwise eligible Alaskan remains eligible while receiving secondary or post-secondary education on a full-time basis.

The regulation implementing the statute 15 AAC 23.163(c) reads that receiving post-secondary education means: enrollment and attendance in good standing as a full-time student at a college, university, or junior or community college, accredited by the accreditation association for the region in which the college or university is located, for the purpose of pursuing an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree; an individual in the last term before graduation who was carrying enough credits to graduate is considered full-time.

Education Absences Explained

Your absence from Alaska for more than 90 or 180 days total during the qualifying year may be allowable if you were absent to attend school as indicated in 43.23.008(a)(1)&(2) and 15 AAC 23.163(c).

Allowable school absences include:

  1. receiving secondary or postsecondary education on a full-time basis; or
  2. receiving vocational, professional, or other specific education on a full-time basis for which, as determined by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, a comparable program is not reasonably available in the state.

Receiving secondary or postsecondary education on a full-time basis means:

  1. enrollment and attendance in good standing as a full-time student at an academic institution for any of the 7th -12th grades;
  2. enrollment and attendance in good standing, for the purpose of pursuing an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree, as a full-time student at a college, university, or junior or community college, accredited by the accreditation association for the region in which the college or university is located, or full-time participation in an internship program if the internship is required for graduation by the college or university; an individual in the last academic year before graduation who was carrying enough credits to graduate but fewer than full-time credits for any one term, semester, or quarter is considered full-time; or
  3. enrollment and attendance in good standing as a full-time student at a Title IV institution, or a non-accredited college or university for the purposes of pursuing an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree if students attending the college or university may qualify as eligible to receive a student loan from Nellie Mae or a student loan from the Educational Resources Institute (TERI);

Receiving vocational, professional, or other specific education on a full-time basis means:

  1. Enrollment and attendance in good standing as a full-time student receiving vocational-technical training as part of a career education program if
    1. the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education recognizes the program by granting loans to individuals to attend; and
    2. the commission states to the department there is no comparable vocational-technical career education program reasonably available in Alaska;
  2. continuing professional educational development if the individual is
    1. attending, on a full-time basis as a student of an academic institution, seminar, or other recognized classroom course or classroom program for continuing professional educational development; or
    2. completing a hospital residency, internship, or other full-time training program as a health professional; or
  3. receiving other full-time special educational assistance in a program or at an institution, if attendance at that program or institution is recommended by a licensed physician, psychologist, physical therapist, or the commissioner of education and early development, to assist in the treatment of learning or physical disabilities or the treatment of mental disorders, and the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development states to the department that there is no comparable program reasonably available in Alaska.

General Information

If absent to obtain a secondary education for grades 7-12 at an out-of-state institution and you are living at a boarding school, you must clearly demonstrate that it is the primary reason for your absence. An individual who lives with an ineligible parent or permanent legal guardian while attending an out-of-state institution has not demonstrated that the primary reason for the individual's absence is to obtain a secondary education.

Verification

If you claim an education absence, you will be required to provide proof of your enrollment. Your school registrar must provide the following information on the Division's specific PFD Education Verification form which must be completed and signed by the registrar, and embossed or stamped with the registrar's seal;

  • a list of all the term or quarter dates you attended school between January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year,
  • whether you were a full-time or part-time student during those dates of attendance, and
  • the type of tuition you were paying: resident; non-resident; or no distinction for each term or quarter you attended school.

If you attended more than one school during the calendar year, you will have to provide your enrollment status and tuition paid for each term or quarter for each school.

If you do not include this information with your application we will ask you to download an Education Verification form from our website. You and the registrar's office of the school(s) you attended must follow the directions exactly as they are written on the form. If you can, remind the school you need the information for a particular calendar year in question, and not the school year. The online National Student Clearing House program cannot be used in lieu of the Education Verification form.

EDUCATION ABSENCES NOT ALLOWED

In general, children:

absent from Alaska for more than 180 days of the calendar year whose primary absence reason is to attend kindergarten through grade 6 are not eligible;

absent from Alaska for more than 180 days of the calendar year who claim their primary absence is to attend school grade 7 through grade 12 AND who are living with an ineligible parent or ineligible permanent legal guardian have not demonstrated that the primary reason they are absent is to attend school and obtain a secondary education and are not eligible;

who applied for OR received a student loan from another state, anytime from January 1 of the calendar year through the date of filing an application, which required them to claim residency in that state, are not eligible;

absent from Alaska who pay resident tuition are not eligible unless they qualify for a waiver that is not based on their residency.

In general, adults:

who applied for OR received a student loan from another state, anytime from January 1 of the calendar year through the date of filing an application, which required them to claim residency in that state, are not eligible;

when absent from Alaska for more than 180 days during the qualifying year and taking on-line classes, the absence is not considered an allowable education absence for PFD purposes unless participation required the student to be absent from Alaska;

absent from Alaska for more than 180 days of the qualifying year with 121 days or more not enrolled and attending school full-time are not eligible; Spring break and Christmas break are counted as days enrolled and attending full-time, if prior to and after these breaks, you were enrolled and attending school full-time;

absent from Alaska who pay resident tuition are not eligible unless they qualify for a waiver that is not based on their residency.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE GENERAL INFORMATION PROVIDED UNDER “EDUCATION ABSENCES NOT ALLOWED” ARE

  1. there was no monetary difference between resident and non-resident tuition;

  2. non-resident tuition was waived as a part of an interstate exchange agreement such as the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), the Student Exchange Program, or the Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WAMI) medical education program;

  3. the student was granted admission under resident tuition provisions for any other reason which did not require the individual to be a resident of the state in which the college or university is located, as indicated in 15 AAC 23.143(d)(11);

Disclaimer: Information posted on this website summarizes the Permanent Fund Dividend Program, is supplemental only, and does not supersede the applicable Statutes and Regulations.