Can I Deduct Student Housing Expenses for My Child?

Even if a school requires your child to live in a dorm, you cannot deduct the cost.
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The Internal Revenue Service offers a number of tax deductions for parents who pay qualified education expenses for children attending college. Qualified expenses include tuition and some fees that are mandated by the school. They do not include expenses for student housing, whether off campus or on.


Qualified Expense Definition

The IRS defines qualified educational expenses as tuition paid to a college or university that's eligible to participate in a federal student aid program. Qualified expenses also include student activity fees, fees for books and other fees that are required as a condition of enrollment. However, the IRS does not consider student housing expenses qualified, even if living on campus is a condition of enrollment.


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Student loans

You can indirectly deduct some expenses for student housing paid for with a student loan. The interest paid on the student loan is deductible if you meet income qualifications and the money is spent on qualified educational expenses. For the purposes of deducting student loan interest, the IRS considers room and board to be qualified expenses.