Qualified scholarships and fellowships may be treated as tax-free amounts if you are a candidate for a degree at an educational institution and:
- The amount does not exceed your qualified education expenses - tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance at the educational institution, or for books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction.
- The scholarship or fellowship is not designated or earmarked for other purposes (such as room and board) and does not require (by its terms) that it cannot be used for qualified education expenses.
Amounts received as payments for teaching, research, or other services required as a condition for receiving the scholarship or fellowship grant are generally taxable. However, you don't 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.
IRS Publication 970 contains detailed information on this topic. You can also use the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant to help determine if your scholarship or grant is taxable.