A higher education is an education attained at any eligible educational institution, such as a college, university, vocational school, or other postsecondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The institution should be able to let the student or taxpayer know whether it meets this requirement.
Generally, expenses paid include those actually paid in the tax year for an academic period during that tax year, or for an academic period beginning in the first three months of the following year.
Qualified education expenses paid by the proceeds of a loan are considered paid by the taxpayer on the date(s) the payment is made to the educational institution, and not on the date(s) the loan is repaid. If the proceeds are paid directly from the lender to the educational institution, the expenses are considered paid on the date the institution credits the student's account.
Education expenses which are not refunded in the case the student withdraws from a class or classes are considered paid and qualified.
See dependent status below if the student paid his or her own expenses.
A semester, trimester, quarter, summer school session, or other period of study as reasonably determined by the educational institution. If the institution uses only credit hours or clock hours, the academic period is the payment period.
The requirements for an eligible student vary according to the particular credit or deduction. See below for more details on each credit and the deduction.
The requirements as to whether a taxpayer must claim a dependent, and whether an otherwise dependent student can take the credits or deduction varies. See below for more details on the credits and the deduction.