do student loans count as income

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Student loans are a complicated topic, and your income from them may not be as simple to calculate as you’d think.

When you apply for student loans, the loan companies will ask for your income information. But how do they use that information in the context of your loan application?

First, let’s take a look at what counts as “income” for student loan purposes:

Earned Income : This includes wages and tips, as well as alimony and child support payments you receive. It also includes bonuses and commissions if they’re paid regularly throughout the year.

Investment Income : You’ll have to report interest paid by banks or other financial institutions on savings accounts or certificates of deposit, dividends from stocks or mutual funds, capital gains from selling stocks or real estate investments after holding them for more than one year (capital gains from selling assets held less than one year are considered short-term gains), and rental income from properties you own that aren’t primary residences (like vacation rentals).

Other Sources Of Income : This includes Social Security benefits, pensions from a former employer or self-employment retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s). It also includes unemployment insurance payments made by state governments (but not those made by federal

Do Student Loans Count As Income? Check Out Here

Do Student Loans Count As Income?

Most if not all students, resume school with the hope that things would just go smoothly and without stress for them which is just what is necessary for a maximum focus on school work.

Gradually, things begin to get bad financially, the income begins to depreciate__of course you how important it is to have just enough cash to take care of necessary things in school as a student.

When things get from bad to worse, most people do not wait for it to get worst; they resort to taking loans so as to help themselves move on with school work.

Others get the loan enough to see them through school even before enrollment and resumption making sure that they have acquired just enough to see them through (although most times, it turns out not be enough).

Channels through which students could possibly acquire their financing include; scholarships and fellowships, federal student loans, from unsubsidized to subsidized loans, to Direct Consolidation Loans and Direct PLUS loans, etc.

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Are Grants And Scholarships Regarded As Income?

The IRS has strict and precise rules which regard what grants and scholarships should be considered as or not considered as touching financial aids loans.

Good news! You do not have to pay taxes on your grant or scholarship if you:

  1. Used the grant you acquired to pay for education expenses at an eligible institution
  2. Are currently enrolled.

Is Student Loans Forgivable?

Wondering if students loan are forgivable? Of courseYes! it is forgivable but, must meet the criteria your lender must have put in place before granting you the loan.

Loans are not totally forgiven, the lender would only decide on what amount to get back on returns which is usually lower than what was borrowed.

Note that when some part of loans have been forgiven, the borrower will have to still pay taxes on the amount forgiven since the forgiven amount is considered a Taxable Income.

Do Student Loans Count As Income?

One important thing about income is that it attracts tax payment. From whatever source the income is coming from, you are obliged to make due payment of every income.

The question now is do student loans count as income? No! the reason is because the IRS does not see to be incomes since the loans must be repaid.

Student loans are NOT money one acquires to keep. In other words, they’re technically NOT “income”, and as such, not taxable. Although they’re a part of your total FAFSA award.

Is Financial Aid Taxable Income? How About Student Loans?

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Financial aid that you receive for college is usually not taxable, but there are exceptions. If you’re a non-degree student, for example, or if you spend financial aid on non-qualified expenses, you might have to pay taxes on it.

Fortunately, student loans are not taxable. Let’s take a closer look at the tax implications for different types of financial aid and loans and other key issues by answering the following questions:

Is financial aid taxable?

Does financial aid count as taxable income? Generally the answer is no, but this can change depending on the type of aid and other circumstances. We’ll look at student loans later in this report, but first let’s consider the following:

 Grants and scholarships

Whether you claim scholarships and grants as income on your taxes depends on how you use the money, explained Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting LLC in New York.

“Financial aid and grants are generally not considered taxable income, provided the money is spent for tuition, fees, books and other supplies for classes,” he said. “Grants and scholarship money used for other purposes, like room and board, must be reported as taxable income.”

In other words, grants and scholarships awards that are used on qualified education expenses, as defined by the IRS, are not taxable. However, if you use that money on non-qualified expenses, such as room and board, travel or other personal costs, you’re expected to report that money on your taxes.

What’s more, your financial aid awards could be taxable if you’re not pursuing a degree in an eligible educational program. If you spend scholarship or grant money on a non-degreed program, you’ll likely have to pay taxes on it.

Finally, a scholarship or grant award could be taxable if it represents payment for teaching, research or other services.

 Graduate fellowships

As a graduate student, you might receive a fellowship to cover your school costs. As long as you’re using that fellowship on qualified education expenses in a degree program, it’s unlikely to be counted as taxable income.

However, if you’re receiving the fellowship in exchange for work, it could be treated as taxable income. Basically, you need to find out whether your fellowship is being treated as a scholarship award or as earned income in exchange for teaching, research or other services.

Your financial aid office should be able to help you decipher the tax rules around your graduate fellowship.


Work-study awards are often available to students with financial need. The work-study program provides part-time jobs to undergraduate and graduate students, often on-campus.

Since students make an income from work-study jobs, they have to report it to the IRS. While work-study is a type of financial aid, it is still money earned. That means it has to be reported to the IRS and is typically taxable.

 Part-time jobs

Many college and graduate students work part-time jobs to cover the cost of school. Unfortunately, there are no special tax breaks for students who work while they study. You’ll still need to pay taxes on your earnings.

How do I report my financial aid to the IRS?

If you use your financial aid, specifically your grants, scholarships and federal student loans, on qualified education expenses, you don’t need to report it as income to the IRS. The IRS doesn’t get a 1099 or W-2 for your financial aid money.

However, you should report any money you make from a work-study position. And if you have a taxable portion of financial aid (i.e., money that you used on non-qualified education expenses), you typically report that as part of your adjusted gross income with Form 1040.

It can be tough to figure out if any part of your financial aid needs to be reported, so it’s a good idea to ask your financial aid office. A financial aid officer can sort through your financial aid awards and let you know if any of it fell outside the rules for education expenses and needs to be reported to the IRS. A qualified accountant can also help you sort through these murky waters.

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Are student loans taxable income?

The short answer is no.

“Student loans are not considered taxable income because it is expected that you’ll pay that money back at some point,” said Zimmelman.

When you borrow money to pay for school, you don’t need to report your loans as income on your tax return. It might feel like you should because you’re receiving money, but those funds aren’t truly yours. Loans are borrowed money that you have to pay back with interest.

But rather than counting as income on your taxes, Zimmelman pointed out, student loans can actually provide some tax benefits.

What is the student loan interest deduction?

Once you start repaying your student loans, you could receive a tax break because the interest you pay is tax-deductible. The student loan interest deduction allows you to deduct from your taxable income up to $2,500 a year in student loan interest that you paid, potentially lowering your total tax bill.

There are some restrictions, though. You can’t take the deduction if your tax filing status is married filing separately, if someone else claims you as a dependent on their tax return or if your modified adjusted gross income is $85,000 or more (or $170,000 or more if you file taxes jointly with a spouse).

Use our student loan interest deduction calculator to see how much you could save by taking advantage of this deduction.

While in school, you can also claim tax credits for your education using the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. The advantage of tax credits is that they directly lower the amount of taxable income — and thereby the tax you owe.

If you qualify, the American Opportunity Tax Credit can result in a tax credit of up to $2,500 per year for your first four years of college. The Lifetime Learning Credit allows you to claim up to $2,000 per tax return.

When can student debt be taxed as income?

While student loans are not considered income when the money is disbursed to you, you may not be completely in the clear.

When your loans are forgiven, you don’t have to pay the debt back. In some cases, the forgiven balance could then be considered money you received as a benefit, making it taxable income. This typically includes any forgiveness you may receive as the result of an income-driven repayment plan.

Under these plans, your monthly loan payments are tied to your income and you repay your debt for 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan you chose. Once that repayment period is complete, any remaining student loan balance is forgiven. At that point, the forgiven amount is considered income, meaning a higher federal income tax bill for you.

Note that taxes on loan forgiveness have been waived until 2025 as part of the March 2021 American Rescue Plan. Thanks to this legislation, you don’t have to worry about paying taxes on your forgiven student loan balance.

You also never have to worry about paying taxes on forgiveness you receive from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs. If you qualify for these programs and your remaining loan balance is forgiven, you won’t have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount.

Before pursuing a plan that involves student loan forgiveness, consider consulting with a tax professional to determine the impact.

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Final thoughts on financial aid and taxable income

For many people, paying for college without taking on federal aid or student loans is extremely difficult. That means it’s important to understand how your financial aid and student loans impact the rest of your life, including your taxes.

In most cases, your financial aid and student loan debt won’t be taxed as income, and you may even benefit from the student loan interest deduction or another tax credit. But keep in mind the situations when you could face a tax bill for your aid or loans. That way, you can prepare for a potential tax bill long before it’s due.


So the IRS does not regard student loans as a repayable income. Students usually do not keep their student’s loan. So it is wrong for it to be referred to as income.

But things can get a bit dicey when your loans are forgiven or you receive grants (For example, Marshall Scholarships or Rhodes Scholarships) or Grants (for example, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant, SMART Grant).

Though, the IRS student loans do not place student loans in the category of income that can be taxed. Financial aid loans have a lot of tax and credit consequences.

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