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Here is Form 8917. I don't see myself clearly fitting into any of the exclusionary criteria.

Here's the thing: my university (which will most likely be Brown next year) will cover all my tuition expenses. But at the same time, there's a weird arrangement that's done for that. So am I still eligible for it?

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    What will be your citizenship status in 2012? If not a US citizen, will you have permanent immigrant status, or will you be on a non-immigrant F-1 visa? You are asking a lot of questions about various rules and options that are not available to non-immigrants or nonresidents, and I strongly suggest that consult an accountant before filing any tax return. One deduction claimed for which you are ineligible is one thing; multiple claims of deductions for which you do not qualify might lead to the IRS concluding that you are attempting tax fraud. – Dilip Sarwate Mar 15 '12 at 2:00
  • Oh I am a U.S. citizen. – InquilineKea Mar 15 '12 at 3:33
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The answer is....it depends.... :)

It depends on how the university reports covering your tuition expenses.

The end result is that any amount the university pays for you to attend school that goes directly to Qualified Education Expenses as listed in the attached form should not be taxed.

So....it the entire "fellowship" income is reported to you as a w-2 or 1099 then you can claim the qualified expenses on the 8917. You can't claim any expenses that were paid by the university that were not reported as income on either a w2 or 1099.

Note: I believe from another question that you mentioned that you were not from the US. In that case the handling is different if you classify yourself as a non-resident alien.

Note 2: I am a little confused by one fact of your question. You aren't currently in school? Just to be sure, know that you for taxes that are being filed now (for tax year 2011) only expenses paid in 2011 can be claimed.

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    Yeah, this is correct. Your university will send you separate form, called a tuition statement, that lists whatever tuition you were billed for. As a PhD student, either an adviser or the department you're in will cover this cost in some way different from paying you money that you use to pay the tuition. Because of this, you cannot claim the tuition deduction. This is meant only for people who manually pay that tuition cost for themselves, not for people having their tuition covered by a sponsor. – ely Mar 15 '12 at 1:57
  • Oh okay I see. I am a U.S. citizen and I will be in grad school next year. – InquilineKea Mar 15 '12 at 3:33

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