Students: Tuition fees and student loan interest

Are you a full-time or part-time student? Are you working while you're in school? Did you take out a student loan? This page shows you which tax credits you can claim.

Matt is a full-time student and also works part-time

Matt is 20. He’s been studying full-time at university since the fall of 2020. He also works part-time in a grocery store, so he hasn’t applied for student loans. He’s never filed a tax return—his parents have always said he didn’t need to because his income was so low and his employer doesn’t withhold any tax from his pay.

One of Matt’s friends told him recently that he might want to file a return so that he could claim the solidarity tax credit and benefit from other programs. Matt would like to know more about the benefits of filing a return.

Q&A — Matt
  • Matt paid $1,350 in tuition for the fall 2020 semester. Is he eligible for the tax credit for tuition or examination fees?

    Yes. Matt is eligible for the tax credit for tuition or examination fees because his tuition fees for 2020 are more than $100. To claim, carry or transfer the credit, he'll have to complete Schedule T and file it with his return.

  • Matt is thinking of applying for loans and bursaries in 2021. Will he have to report them in his return?

    Only the bursaries need to be reported. However, they're non-taxable.

  • When Matt starts to pay back his student loans at the end of his studies, can he deduct them and the interest paid on them when he does his taxes?

    No. The loan itself isn't deductible. However, Matt can deduct or carry the interest he paid by completing Schedule M and filing it with his tax return.

  • Is it true that Matt can get the solidarity tax credit just by filing his tax return?

    Yes. However, to get the full amount he's entitled to under all the components of the credit, he'll have to file Schedule D as well and sign up for direct deposit (it's the only way the credit is paid out). If he doesn't file Schedule D, he'll only get the basic amount of the QST component even if he's eligible for more than that.

  • As a full-time student who works part-time, could Matt get a tax refund?

    No. It's very unlikely that Matt will get a refund, since there aren't any source deductions on his pay. He can't get back the extra income tax he paid if he didn't pay any income tax during the year.

  • Could Matt's parents benefit from him filing his return?

    Yes. Matt’s parents may be eligible for the amount transferred by a child 18 or over enrolled in post-secondary studies or the tax credit for tuition or examination fees transferred by a child.

    For the amount transferred by a child 18 or over enrolled in post-secondary studies, Matt will have to complete Schedule S and file it with his return, and his mother and/or father will have to complete Part B of Schedule A and file it with their return.

    For the tax credit for tuition or examination fees transferred by a child, Matt will have to complete Schedule T and file it with his return, and his mother or father will have to complete Part D of Schedule A and file it with their return.

Garrett is a single father and is going back to school after losing his job

Garrett is a single father. He lives with his two children: Fiona (age 4) and Owen (age 2). He’d been at the same job for a number of years, but he was laid off indefinitely in April 2020 because of the COVID⁠-⁠19 pandemic.

Garrett was already thinking of going back to school to get a DEC in computer programming, and it looks like now is the time for him to do it.
However, the CEGEP he was looking at told him that he’d have to take classes online. With two small children at home, he wonders if he’ll be able to focus on his classes and assignments.

Garrett decides that he’ll probably have to send his kids to daycare. He wonders if he can apply for some kind of financial assistance when he does his taxes.

Of course! If his daycare expenses qualify and he meets the requirements, Garrett can claim the tax credit for childcare expenses.

Q&A — Garrett
  • Is Garrett considered to attend an educational institution if he takes classes online

    Yes. The rules for this changed on January 1, 2020. Distance courses offered by a qualified educational institution (like Garrett's CEGEP) now qualify without requiring students to be virtually present at a specific time or to interact with the professor or class. However, students are still required to be virtually or physically present for courses offered by a secondary school.

  • Can Garrett apply for advance payments of the tax credit for childcare expenses, or does he have to wait and claim the full credit in his tax return?

    Garrett can apply for advance payments, but he has to meet the requirements. For example, he must expect to get a tax credit of more than $1,000 for the year (this doesn’t apply if he also expects to get a work premium or adapted work premium of over $500 for the same year).

    Garrett can apply online using Revenu Québec’s online services or by filing forms TPZ-1029.8.F-V, Tax Credit for Childcare Expenses: Application for Advance Payments, and TPZ-1029.8.F.A-V, Childcare Expenses Qualifying for the Tax Credit: Fees and Number of Days of Care.