I got an email from a pilot that I know, this is what he said.
Well, for starters, VFR on top is an IFR thing, so you can't do that if
you're not on an IFR flight plan. So yeah, it's illegal for student
What you're describing is called "VFR over the top" and is not necessarily
illegal for student pilots. The clause is that a student pilot must
maintain visual contact with the ground. So, IMHO, you can fly over a
few/scattered layered and be legal (and safe) but flying over a
broken/overcast layer is not. Once you are rated, you may fly over the
top of a broken/overcast layer to your heart's content.
The answer is: "You must maintain visual contact with the ground." You
may be over the top and have said contact, or you may be over the top and
not have said contact.
Over-the-top when you're VFR only poses some additional risks. I won't
fly over the top unless I'm absolutely sure I can find a hole to get down.
If AWOS/ASOS/ATIS along your route of flight is reporting overcast/broken
and you can't see any holes to get down, it's a good idea to turn around
and descend in the clear area where you climbed.