The University is required to report eligible tuition payment and scholarship and grant disbursements to the IRS each tax year on Form 1098-T. Students will receive a copy of this form by January 31st each year, which can be used to help them determine whether or not they qualify for certain educational tax credits.
While the University is required to report this information to the IRS, it does not engage in tax advice or opinion. FSU will not provide you with information about the taxability of your scholarships and grants, and cannot advise you on the use of the 1098-T in your annual tax filing. You should consult a tax professional or your accountant for more information about the taxability of your educational awards.
What does the 1098-T report?
Most students will see two boxes populated on their 1098-T-- box 1, and box 5. Some students may have box 4, and box 6 populated as well. All transactions on the 1098-T reflect activity that occurred within a calendar year, regardless of the year or term that the transaction affected.
Box 1: Payments Received for Qualified Tuition
Box 1 will report payments made toward qualified tuition and related expenses in a calendar year. Qualified tuition and related expenses, as defined by the IRS, includes tuition and most of the mandatory per-credit-hour fees assessed for taking classes at FSU. However, the IRS excludes payments for housing, dining, book payments and even the Health and Transportation fees that are part of the mandatory per-credit cost of taking classes at FSU. For a breakdown of the mandatory tuition fees see our Tuition page. Tuition waivers are excluded from 1098T reporting.
Box 4: Adjustments to Qualified Tuition from a Prior Reporting Period
Any changes to a prior tax year that resulted in a reduction of payments toward previously reported qualified tuition will be reported in Box 4. For example, if the University reports $500 in payments in 2016, but a student retroactively drops a course from 2016 in the 2017 year without fee liability, the dropped value will appear in Box 4.
Box 5: Scholarships and Grants Received
Box 5 reports the amount of scholarships and grants disbursed in a calendar year. Scholarships and grants are defined by the IRS, so may include items that you do not recognize as a scholarship or grant. For example, military benefits and payments from some third-party organizations are reported as scholarships or grants.
Box 6: Adjustments to Scholarships and Grants Reported in a Prior Year
Similar to Box 4, Box 6 reports adjustments to previously reported scholarships and grants from a prior year. If a scholarship or grant is retroactively revoked, the value of the scholarship or grant will be reported in Box 6.
Why are my scholarships / grants for next year reported on my 1098-T this year?
The 1098-T only includes transactions that occurred within a calendar year, by payment date, regardless of the year of the semester involved. For example, your Box 5 value for Scholarships and Grants may be higher for a given year than what you actually received for the semesters that fall within that year if your department or third-party sponsor paid any portion of your tuition before January 1 of that year. This cross-year scenario is especially likely to happen with payments for Spring semester. Tuition for the Spring semester is assessed in December (or earlier) of the preceding tax year, and if a department or sponsor pays that tuition in December then that payment will reflect on the 1098T year preceding the year of the term (i.e. the payment is reported in the year it happens).
Why does my reported payment amount in Box 1 not match my receipts?
The two most common causes of disconnect between expectations and actual reporting are: 1) it is the payment date, not the date of the term being paid, that controls which year the payment is reported on the 1098T and 2) tuition / class fees at FSU includes transportation access and health fees, which are not considered qualified tuition and related expenses under IRS code and are not reported on the 1098T. These fees are excluded from reporting in Box 1. Further, there are no other expenses on the FSU bill apart from tuition / class fees (reduced by transportation and health fees) that meet the IRS's definition for 1098T reporting, i.e. the 1098T includes no housing, no dining, no books, etc. Tuition waivers are also excluded from 1098T reporting.