Here's a good reference regarding the history of the student college benefit :
In the 1965 Social Security Amendments the definition of a "child" was broadened. In addition to presuming that a child under age 18 was dependent on its parents, the Social Security program began to recognize the reality that children who are full-time students after age 18 are often still in fact dependent on their parents for their support. Consequently, the existing Child's Benefit was extended in its duration to include children of the Social Security beneficiary who were full time students, and under the age of 22. The age of 22 was selected because this would be the usual time period for a student to complete a four-year college education.
In the peak year of 1977, almost 900,000 students were receiving this type of benefit. In the peak pay-out year of 1981, almost $2.4 billion was paid in the form of student benefits.
In its 1977 and 1978 budgets, the Ford Administration proposed a phase-out of student benefits; in its 1979 budget the Carter Administration made a similar proposal. When the Reagan Administration took office in early 1981, it offered a comprehensive budget and tax proposal designed to achieve its economic objectives.
Thus, under the provisions of the Omnibus Budge Reconciliation Act of 1981, student benefits for post-secondary and for elementary and/or secondary students older than 18, were phased-out and finally eliminated by April 1985. This change in the law was estimated to save the Social Security program $10.6 billion over the first five years.
Student benefits are still payable to elementary and/or secondary school students provided they are under age 19. Currently about 100,000 students receive this type of Child's Benefit each year--about one-tenth the volume prior to the change in the law.
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