HUD has amended the definition of “tuition” to be used when determining income eligibility for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Project-based Section 8, and Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation programs. The new tuition definition includes “other required fees and charges.” This change may provide some relief for Section 8-assisted residents who attend institutions of higher learning that charge significant fees in addition to basic tuition.
As explained in two identical Notices, H 2015-12 from the Office of Multifamily Housing Programs and PIH 2015-21 from the Office of Public and Indian Housing, the FY12 Appropriations Act requires a Multifamily owner or management agent (O/A) or public housing agency (PHA) to consider as income for calculating Section 8 eligibility any financial assistance in excess of amounts received for tuition and any other required fees and charges from private sources or an institution of higher education. This stipulation does not apply to Section 8 applicants or program participants over the age of 23 who have dependent children.
Until the new Notices were published, HUD used the various meanings of the term “tuition” used by different institutions of higher education attended by residents. The Notices note that many institutions of higher education are moving away from a traditional tuition-only structure to a tuition-plus-fee structure. Examples of fees that might be included are laboratory fees, student activity fees, student association fees, and student service fees. To promote consistency and standardization, HUD is now aligning its definition of tuition with that used by the Department of Education, which includes required fees that represent all fixed charges applied to a large proportion of all students, amounts that a “typical” student is charged.
The Notices clarify that under other HUD programs, such as Public Housing, the full amount of financial assistance continues to be excluded from the calculation of annual income.
Notices H 2015-12 is at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=15-12hsgn.pdf
Notice PIH 2015-21 is at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=PIH-2015-21.pdf