Claiming Your Education Tax Benefits
Higher education costs may be eligible for tax benefits, and students are provided with the 1098-T form to assist in the preparation of annual tax returns. The 1098-T form is a “Tuition Payment Statement” that all higher educational institutions are required to provide to eligible students and to the IRS.
1098-T forms are mailed by the end of January each year to the permanent address on your student account. This is the same address that you receive other Trinity mailings, such as statements and payment arrangements information.
Effective January 2017, Heartland ECSI has updated how students may access their tax documents. For students wanting to access current year forms only:
- Go to https://heartland.ecsi.net.
- Select the ‘Click Here’ option after ‘Want to view your tax form?’
- Select ‘Trinity Washington University’ from the dropdown list and click ‘Submit’.
- Students will need to verify their first & last name, SSN, and zip code to proceed, which must match information on file with Trinity.
- The tax documentation information screen will appear next. Students should click on the + sign next to 1098-T statement to open statement detail. Students have the ability to see how the form was delivered (US mail or electronic) and may view/print their statement.
For students wanting to view prior year forms (beginning in 2013), an account will need to be created:
- Students must first have their login credentials from the previous ECSI website on hand (school code, account number and PIN) if you have not received a Heartland Key from ECSI. The account number is the same as your SSN, and the school code is XO. Their PIN can be retrieved here.
- Go to https://heartland.ecsi.net and click ‘Sign in or Register’.
- Register for a new profile if you do not currently have an ECSI profile set up.
- Once your profile has been registered, click on ‘Connect an account’ to add Trinity Washington University to your profile. If you do not have a Heartland key, you may search by school. You will need school code, account number, and PIN for this step.
- Once your account has been connected, click on the Trinity University tile, then click on ‘View Account’.
- Click on the ‘History’ tab to view past 1098-t statements.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide instantaneous responses to 1098-T questions, so please ensure that you have your questions answered prior to your appointment with your tax preparer.
- What is the 1098-T form?
- How will I know when the 1098-T form is ready?
- If I log in to the website, will I still receive a 1098-T form in the mail?
- I forgot my password. How can I reset it?
- How can I get a new/duplicate copy of my 1098-T?
- My name or social security number are incorrect on my 1098-T. How can I have this corrected?
- Why is box 2 blank on my 1098-T form?
- Why isn’t the amount in Box 1 equal to the amounts I paid to Trinity during the year?
- What does an amount in box 4 mean?
- What does an amount in box 5 mean?
- What does an amount in box 6 mean?
- Why are my Spring charges not showing up on my 1098-T?
- I graduated in May 2019, do I have a Form 1098-T for the year?
- I am a parent. Can I receive a copy of my child’s 1098-T form?
- My accountant says the University must provide a Form 1098-T.
- My tax preparer and I have questions regarding how to use the 1098-T form in preparing my tax return. Who can I contact for assistance with completing my tax return?
Answer: The 1098-T is a form designed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and used by colleges and universities to report tax-related information concerning educational expenses, pursuant to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. Trinity is required to report information including the student’s name, address, taxpayer’s identification number (TIN) academic/enrollment status and (since 2003) any amount of qualified tuition expenses or scholarships/grants (found in boxes 2 and 5, respectively). These forms are intended to be used by students as a guide while completing their individual federal tax returns, and should not be taken as any tax advice given by the University. It is a helpful step in applying for the federal income tax education credits, however, it does not contain all of the information necessary to apply, requiring additional information that must be researched and obtained by the student and their tax preparer.
Answer: You will receive an email at the address provided to Heartland ECSI when 1098-T forms are available to be viewed online, typically in early January. Any student who has not chosen to receive their 1098-T electronically will receive a paper copy via mail, which will be sent to the address on record with the University by January 31. The email sent by Heartland ECSI will specify the Heartland Key needed to access your form. To opt-in to receive your 1098-T form electronically, please click here and have your student ID number (beginning with P) ready.
Answer: If you have given consent to receive your 1098-T form electronically, a paper form will not be mailed to you. However, you will be able to log in as often as you wish to print out copies of your form.
Answer: Students can reset their ECSI account password by visiting here.
Answer: If you did not receive the 1098-T form, or need a duplicate form, please go to the website of our service provider. If you have not received a Heartland Key from ECSI, you will need to obtain your previous account PIN here. Trinity’s school code is XO, and your account number is your full social security number.
Please note that 1098-T forms for prior years starting with 2012 will be available through ECSI, if you need them for your records. There is a year drop-down menu within the service provider website. If you need a 1098-T form for a year prior to 2012, please contact the Business Office.
Answer: Contact the Business Office via email with a completed W-9s form. The Business Office will correct your information online within 48 hours of your request, and you will receive an e-mail from Heartland ECSI when your corrected form is available.
Answer: In previous years, Form 1098-T has included a dollar amount in Box 2 that represented the qualified tuition and related expenses (QTRE) the University billed to your student account for the calendar year. Due to a change in institutional reporting requirements under federal law, beginning with tax year 2018, the University must report in Box 1 the amount of QTRE paid during the year. Qualified tuition and related expenses (QTRE) include any tuition charges plus the student activity fees, laboratory fees, graduation fees, and enrollment fees. All other charges to your student account, including room and board, are not considered eligible charges.A statement of account activity for tax purposes can be provided upon demand, and may be requested from the Business Office by e-mail at BusinessOffice@trinitydc.edu.
Answer: There are various reasons why the amounts paid to Trinity does not equal the amount reported in Box 1. One reason is that the amount of payments reported does not include payments for room and board, health service and insurance fees, parking or other expenses not considered mandatory education expenses for tax purposes. Secondly, Form 1098-T reports the amount that the student paid in a certain year, and the pay date does not necessarily correspond to the dates that the classes were attended. For example, tuition for the Spring semester is typically billed in November, and a student may have paid tuition for the Spring semester in 2018 despite the fact that classes didn’t start until 2019. Information about the amounts that you paid for qualified tuition and related expenses can be viewed in Self-Service.
Answer: Box 4, “Adjustments made for a prior year” shows an amount if qualified tuition and related expenses that were reported on a 1098-T form for a prior year were subsequently adjusted or reduced during the current tax year.
Answer: Box 5, “Scholarships or grants” shows the net amount of certain forms of educational assistance that was received or applied to your student account between January and December of the current tax year, regardless of the term for which the funds were originally intended.
Answer: Box 6, “Adjustments to Scholarships or Grants for a Prior Year” shows an amount if scholarships or grants that were reported on a 1098-T for a prior year year were subsequently adjusted or reduced in in the current tax year.
Answer: Eligible or qualified charges are any tuition charges plus the student activity fees, laboratory fees, graduation fees, and enrollment fees. All other charges to your student account, including room and board, are not considered eligible charges.
Answer: Students automatically charge their accounts by registering for classes. If you registered for Spring classes during the regular registration period (typically November and December), you charged your account at that time, making those charges eligible to claim in the year of registration. These would have been reflected on that year’s 1098-T. Similarly, if you have already registered for this coming Spring, these charges will be included on this year’s 1098-T form.
Answer: Some May 2019 graduates will not be issued a Form 1098-T for 2019 depending on the date their account was billed for the Spring semester. For most students, tuition charges for Spring 2019 were billed in November 2018 and included as QTRE for the 2018 tax year. If a student had no reportable tuition charges for 2019, then the student would not receive a 2019 Form 1098-T.
Answer: Students must make all information requests. The student is responsible for providing information to other parties in accordance with the Family Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).
Answer: The University is not required, by the IRS, to furnish a Form 1098-T in the following instances:
- Payments for courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program,
- Enrolled student is a nonresident alien, unless requested by the student,
- Students whose qualified tuition and related expenses are entirely waived or paid entirely with grants/scholarships,
- Students for whom you do not maintain a separate financial account and whose qualified tuition and related expenses are covered by a formal billing arrangement between an institution and the student’s employer or governmental entity, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense.
Answer: Trinity employees are not authorized to offer any personal tax advice. Please address all questions and concerns regarding personal tax matters to a tax consultant/advisor or the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. Alternatively, you may want to consult the following websites before calling the IRS:
- www.irs.gov (Type 1098-T in search box)
- Federal Education Tax Benefits Guide
- Various Federal Tax Cuts and Credits