Are scholarships considered taxable income?

Hey everyone, I’m unsure about how to report scholarships as income on taxes. Can you help me understand the note in the IRS worksheet?


The underlying premise is that you essentially have two possibilities if you don’t have to utilize a scholarship to pay for tuition and fees:

Declare it to be tax-free aid for schooling. This lowers the quantity of allowable educational costs you have and, consequently, any educational credits you may have been eligible for.

Do not consider it to be tax-free; rather, include it in your income. The total amount of eligible educational expenses is unaffected by this.

Consider the scholarship to be tax free

Scholarships can be considered taxable income under certain these conditions:

Non-Taxable Scholarships

  1. Qualified Education Expenses: Scholarships used to pay for qualified education expenses are not taxable. Qualified education expenses include:

    • Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance.
    • Course-related expenses such as books, supplies, and equipment required for courses.
  2. Degree Candidates: The recipient must be a candidate for a degree at an eligible educational institution.

Taxable Scholarships

  1. Non-Qualified Expenses: Portions of scholarships used for non-qualified expenses are considered taxable. These expenses include:

    • Room and board.
    • Travel.
    • Research.
    • Clerical help.
    • Equipment and other expenses that are not required for enrollment or attendance.
  2. Payment for Services: Scholarships that require the recipient to perform services in exchange for the award (e.g., teaching, research) are taxable. This is often the case with stipends provided to graduate students.

Reporting Requirements

Form 1098-T: Educational institutions provide Form 1098-T to students, which shows amounts billed for tuition and related expenses and any scholarships or grants received.
Form W-2: If the scholarship is considered payment for services, it will be reported as income on Form W-2.


May be, may be not but generally, scholarships are not considered taxable income if you meet certain conditions set by the IRS.

Navigating the reporting of scholarships as income on taxes can indeed be a bit complex initially, but with some understanding, it becomes clearer. Essentially, scholarships that cover qualified education expenses like tuition and books are typically tax-free, while those used for other purposes may be taxable.

The note in the IRS worksheet likely refers to distinguishing between taxable and nontaxable portions of scholarships. It’s essential to carefully review any documentation from the scholarship provider and allocate the funds accordingly. If the scholarship exceeds qualified education expenses, the excess may be considered taxable income. However, if you’re unsure or need further clarification, consulting a tax professional can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific situation, ensuring accurate reporting and compliance with IRS regulations.