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Help with "full time student" qualification!

My son was 20 at the end of 2019. He received a 1098-T form and the box for "checked if at least part-time student" was checked.  He was enrolled in a college, but dropped out after about a month in. I'm claiming him as a dependent. So, my question is, do I check "yes" or "no" when asked if he was a full time student when filling out my tax return? Thanks!

3 Replies
Expert Alumni

Help with "full time student" qualification!

You may not even have to report the 1098-T. Please read below.


If your son was a student for only one (1) month out of the entire 12 months,  he is not a full-time student.


If he has other tuition, you must subtract his tuition from other tuition that you are reporting. If none left, you don't even have to claim 1098-T.


To be considered a full-time student, your son must have been a student for  5 calendar months during the tax year.  A full-time student is one who is enrolled for the number of hours or courses considered to be full-time attendance by the school. The 5 calendar months do not have to be consecutive.

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Level 15

Help with "full time student" qualification!

Answer no.  He must have been a full time student for 5 months or more than to answer yes.


There are two types of dependents, "Qualifying Children"(QC) and standard ("Qualifying Relative" in IRS parlance even though they don't have to actually be related). There is no income limit for a QC but there is an age limit, student status, a relationship test and residence test. Only a QC qualifies a taxpayer for the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit. They are interrelated but the rules are different for each.


Since your son was over 18 and not full time student, for 5 months, he cannot be your QC.  

He may  still be a standard dependent if he meets the 6 tests for claiming a dependent:

  1. Closely Related OR live with the taxpayer ALL year
  2. His/her gross taxable income for the year must be less than $4,200
  3. The taxpayer must have provided more than 1/2 his support

In either case:

  1. He must be a US citizen or resident of the US, Canada or Mexico
  2. He must not file a joint return with his spouse or be claiming a dependent of his own
  3. He must not be the qualifying child of another taxpayer


Level 15

Help with "full time student" qualification!

If he does qualify as your dependent, you may claim the tuition credit (claim his 1098-T) for any tuition paid, even though he dropped out.

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