Publication Date



[Excerpt] Unemployment Compensation (UC) is a joint federal-state program that provides income support payments to eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Federal law sets out broad guidelines with regard to how the UC program operates and how it should be administered. State laws establish eligibility criteria for who qualifies for the program. In the case of a student who becomes unemployed, eligibility would depend on how their respective state treats students within the UC system.

Most states disqualify students from UC benefits while they are in school or disqualify individuals from UC benefits if they leave work to attend school. This is typically due to the presumption that students would be unavailable for work during the time that they are in school. However, exceptions and variations exist from state to state. Many workers who lost their jobs and remain in school may be eligible for UC benefits depending on their circumstances and how their respective states treats students.

This report describes these state variations in further detail and how states consider students within the framework of their own unique UC programs.


Suggested Citation
Whittaker, J. M. & Eder, A. (2012). Unemployment Compensation (UC): Eligibility for students under state and federal laws. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.