I thinking about helping a family friend by paying his law school tuition and maybe give him a stipend for books and living expenses. Do I need to create a scholarship or grant to do this or can I just pay the institution and him directly? I am worried about the tax implications for him. Any advice would be helpful. Sorry this would be in the US and the Annual amount would be about $50k for tuition and the same for a stipend.

  • 1
    Are you married, do you have any idea what the annual amounts would be?
    – quid
    Mar 28, 2018 at 7:24
  • Also, is he married?
    – Hart CO
    Mar 28, 2018 at 15:20
  • You should look into whether you can make the contributions through a 529 account. Mar 28, 2018 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


Short answer: no tax implications for the student, but perhaps for you.

Generally, money given to someone else is considered a gift. Above certain amounts, the donor may be subject to gift tax. Gifts are normally tax-free to the recipient.

However, amounts paid directly to an educational institution for someone's tuition are not subject to gift tax.

Amounts for books, room and board, personal expenses, etc. are considered a gift. For 2018, you can gift up to $15,000 (single) or $30,000 (married) without any gift tax consequences.

Now, in practice you won't pay gift tax on amounts above those thresholds either, because you can count it against your "lifetime exclusion", which is $5.6 million (single) or $11.2 million (married). However, you will need to file a gift tax return (Form 709) with your tax return, informing the IRS of the gift and that you are using some of your lifetime exclusion.

  • $5.6M is out-dated figure. New tax law sets amount at $10M plus inflation, exact figure for 2018 is not released yet as far as I see. Also worth noting, if student is married and OP is married they can gift the couple $60k and be within the annual exclusion.
    – Hart CO
    Mar 28, 2018 at 15:22

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