A scholarship is generally an amount paid or allowed to a student at an educational institution for the purpose of study. A fellowship is generally an amount paid to an individual for the purpose of research.
If you receive a scholarship or fellowship grant, all or part of the amounts you receive may be tax-free.
Qualified scholarship and fellowship grants are treated as tax-free amounts if the following conditions are met:
- You are a candidate for a degree at an educational institution that maintains a regular faculty and curriculum and normally has a regularly enrolled body of students in attendance at the place where it carries on its educational activities; and
- Amounts you receive as a scholarship or fellowship grant are used for tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance at the educational institution, or for fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses at the educational institution.
You must include in gross income amounts used for incidental expenses, such as room and board, travel, and optional equipment, and generally, amounts received as payments for teaching, research, or other services required as a condition for receiving the scholarship or fellowship grant. Also, you must include in income any part of the scholarship or fellowship that represents payments for services. Generally, when reporting scholarship income on your tax return, you will include the amounts on the same line as "Wages, salaries, tips, etc." Review the instructions of your tax form to determine how to report any income from scholarships.
However, you do not need to include in gross income any amounts you receive for services that are required by the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program or the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program.
If any part of your scholarship or fellowship grant is taxable, you may have to make estimated tax payments. For more information, refer to Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: February 27, 2014