It is quite a common thing that H4 spouses after they arrive in US, they consider going back to school. It is never a bad idea to go back to school to get a degree.
Can H4 Visa Holder Study in USA ? Full time ?
Yes, H4 visa holder can study in US. Yes, they can study full time as well. Full time is nothing but taking more courses. Every university is different, but in general if you take about 9 or more credits, you are considered a full-time student. Full time student status is defined by the load of the courses that student take and does not have anything to do with the visa status. So, it is up to the student to take as much load as they want. H4 visa holder can study full time by taking 9 credits or more depending on how comfortable they are. One key thing to note is that they will NOT get an I20 as F1 students get as they are full-time students. You can speak to the DSO at a school to understand more on this.
What are the advantages of studying on H4 visa ?
It can be quite advantageous to study on H4 visa, if you lived in the state for over an year and your spouse lived there in the state as well for over 12 months as you will get the option to leverage the in-state tuition fee in most of the state schools. Again, this varies by state, but for most of the states, the rule is that, if you live in the state for 1 year and pay taxes, then you must be eligible. The main rule also is that you need to be in the state for 12 months too…again, these are fine print details and always depend on the school and state. You will need to speak to the Admissions office and the financial aid office to get more clarity on the in-state fee. If you get in-state fee, your fee is literally half of internationals fee, which can be quite a bit of saving. The only flip side to this is that you cannot work on campus on H4 visa, unless you get H4 EAD through your spouse.