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Claiming Ongoing Costs Of Education

By Evelyn Jacks

I remember feeling so great about graduation from college for a number of reasons, but likely the most important one: I no longer was going to be chronically broke! I sure was looking forward to that first paycheque from my new teaching job.

Today certain tax credits have been enhanced to help both full and part time students. I thought you might want to learn a bit more about that. So the subject of today's article is the monthly education amount.

A full-time education amount may be claimed for each whole or part month in the year that the student was enrolled in a qualifying educational program at a designated educational institution and the student was enrolled full time, was enrolled part time and qualified for the Disability Amount, or enrolled part time because of a mental or physical impairment.

A part-time education amount may be claimed if the student does not qualify for the full-time amount but has spent a minimum of 12 hours in the month on coursework. A part-time education amount may be claimed for each whole or part month in the year that the student was enrolled in a specified educational program at a designated educational institution.

A qualifying educational program is a program that lasts at least 3 consecutive weeks and requires a minimum of 10 hours of instruction or work in the program each week (not including study time). Instruction or work includes lectures, practical training, and laboratory work. It also includes research time spent on a post-graduate thesis.

A program is not considered a qualifying educational program if the student receives, from a person with whom he or she deals at arm's length, a grant, reimbursement, benefit, or allowance for that program.

However, receipt of a scholarship, fellowship, bursary, or prize received, or any benefit received under the Canada Student Loans Act, Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, or the Act respecting financial assistance for education expenses of the Province of Quebec does not disqualify the education program.

After 2003, a program taken by the student in connection with the student's employment duties, even if that student receives income from that employment, does qualify for these purposes, provided only that the employer does not reimburse the tuition cost.

A specified educational program is a program that lasts at least 3 consecutive weeks and requires at least 12 hours of instruction each month.

Only one education amount may be claimed for each month - the full-time amount or the part-time amount.

Age limitation for education credit. Students who are under 16 at the end of the year, may claim the education amount only for courses taken at the post-secondary level.

Beware. . . Students may not claim the education amount if they:

  • received a grant or were reimbursed for the cost of courses, other than by award money received,
  • received a benefit as part of a program (such as free meals and lodging from a nursing school),
  • received a salary or wages while taking a course related to their job, or
  • received an allowance for a program such as a training allowance.
Bonus: Amount for Textbooks. The 2006 Federal Budget introduced a non-refundable tax credit that recognizes the cost of textbooks. The credit is calculated based on the number of months of full-time or part-time attendance as certified on Form T2202A.

The amount is $65 per month for full-time attendance and $20 per month for part-time attendance. The credit is, in fact, an increase in the Education Amount and the requirements for this credit are identical to those of the Education Amount.


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