The IRS allows 20% of up to $10,000 of "qualified education expenses" to be applied to one's tax bill via the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). I've been searching for more information pertaining to what exactly constitutes a qualified expense, but what I find is not as specific as I'd hoped.
For example, tuition and fees qualify, but things seem less clear for books and materials. At least one website says these can only be claimed if they are required "as a condition of enrollment or attendance," but even this vague: my university hasn't explicitly required that I buy a computer to facilitate my studies, but it would be reasonable to say that a computer is (at least colloquially, if not strictly) necessary to complete a post-secondary degree.
Does an expense's qualification or non-qualification for the LLC depend on the university's formal requirements or on some form of "reasonable expectation" of what constitutes necessity (or on something else)? Would the LLC extend to more ancillary expenses such as internet access at home, which I use, in part, to acquire assignments and other materials from course websites? Would access to equivalent resources on campus disqualify such an expense? Is any consideration given to the fraction of the obtained good or service that is used for degree-related purposes?
(I am a US citizen in a graduate program at an American university. I am single and have no dependents.)