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Publication 970

Other Types of Educational Assistance(p7)

The following discussions deal with other common types of educational assistance.

Fulbright Grants(p7)

A Fulbright grant is generally treated as a scholarship or fellowship grant in figuring how much of the grant is tax free.

Pell Grants and Other Title IV Need-Based Education Grants(p7)

These need-based grants are treated as scholarships for purposes of determining their tax treatment. They are tax free to the extent used for qualified education expenses during the period for which a grant is awarded.

Payment to Service Academy Cadets(p7)

An appointment to a United States military academy isn't a scholarship or fellowship grant. Payment you receive as a cadet or midshipman at an armed services academy is pay for personal services and will be reported to you on Form W-2, box 1. Include this pay in your income in the year you receive it unless one of the exceptions, discussed earlier under Payment for services, applies.

Veterans' Benefits(p7)

Payments you receive for education, training, or subsistence under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are tax free. Don't include these payments as income on your federal tax return.
If you qualify for one or more of the education tax benefits discussed in chapters 2 through 12, you may have to reduce the amount of education expenses qualifying for a specific tax benefit by part or all of your VA payments. This applies only to the part of your VA payments that is required to be used for education expenses.
You may want to visit the Veterans Administration website at for specific information about the various VA benefits for education.


You have returned to college and are receiving two education benefits under the latest GI Bill: (1) a $1,534 monthly basic housing allowance (BHA) that is directly deposited to your checking account, and (2) $3,840 paid directly to your college for tuition. Neither of these benefits is taxable and you don't report them on your tax return. You also want to claim an American opportunity credit on your return. Your total tuition charges are $5,000. To figure the amount of credit, you must first subtract the $3,840 from your qualified education expenses because this payment under the GI Bill was required to be used for education expenses. You don't subtract any amount of the BHA because it was paid to you and its use wasn't restricted.

Qualified Tuition Reduction(p7)

If you are allowed to study tuition free or for a reduced rate of tuition, you may not have to pay tax on this benefit. This is called a "tuition reduction." You don't have to include a qualified tuition reduction in your income.
A tuition reduction is qualified only if you receive it from, and use it at, an eligible educational institution. You don't have to use the tuition reduction at the eligible educational institution from which you received it. In other words, if you work for an eligible educational institution and the institution arranges for you to take courses at another eligible educational institution without paying any tuition, you may not have to include the value of the free courses in your income.
The rules for determining if a tuition reduction is qualified, and therefore tax free, are different if the education provided is below the graduate level or is graduate education.
You must include in your income any tuition reduction you receive that is payment for your services.

Eligible educational institution.(p8)

An eligible educational institution is one that maintains a regular faculty and curriculum and normally has a regularly enrolled body of students in attendance at the place where it carries on its educational activities.

Officers, owners, and highly compensated employees.(p8)

Qualified tuition reductions apply to officers, owners, or highly compensated employees only if benefits are available to employees on a nondiscriminatory basis. This means that the tuition reduction benefits must be available on substantially the same basis to each member of a group of employees. The group must be defined under a reasonable classification set up by the employer. The classification must not discriminate in favor of owners, officers, or highly compensated employees.

Payment for services. (p8)

Generally, you must include in income the part of any qualified tuition reduction that represents payment for teaching, research, or other services by the student required as a condition of receiving the qualified tuition reduction. This applies even if all candidates for a degree must perform the services to receive the degree. (See below for exceptions.)
You don't have to include in income the part of any scholarship or fellowship grant that represents payment for teaching, research, or other services if you receive the amount under:

Education Below the Graduate Level(p8)

If you receive a tuition reduction for education below the graduate level (including primary, secondary, or high school), it is a qualified tuition reduction, and therefore tax free, only if your relationship to the educational institution providing the benefit is described below.
  1. You are an employee of the eligible educational institution.
  2. You were an employee of the eligible educational institution, but you retired or left on disability.
  3. You are a widow or widower of an individual who died while an employee of the eligible educational institution or who retired or left on disability.
  4. You are the dependent child or spouse of an individual described in (1) through (3) above.

Child of deceased parents.(p8)

For purposes of the qualified tuition reduction, a child is a dependent child if the child is under age 25 and both parents have died.

Child of divorced parents.(p8)

For purposes of the qualified tuition reduction, a dependent child of divorced parents is treated as the dependent of both parents.

Graduate Education(p8)

A tuition reduction you receive for graduate education is qualified, and therefore tax free, if both of the following requirements are met. You must include in income any other tuition reductions for graduate education that you receive.

How To Report(p8)

Any tuition reduction that is taxable should be included as wages on your Form W-2, box 1. Report the amount from Form W-2, box 1, on line 7 (Form 1040 or Form 1040A) or line 1 (Form 1040EZ).