The payoff may be further delayed if the student chooses to carry forward the credit to a future year

The benefits of tax credits come, at the earliest, in the following spring – after the tuition bills are paid – when the tax return is filed and a refund issued

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“In order to derive any benefit from the education tax credits, students and their families must first find the resources to pay for tuition fees, textbooks and living expenses and hope that a portion will be refunded sometime in the future,” says a policy statement from the Canadian Federation of Students. “As a result, education tax credits are most likely to benefit those who already have enough money to afford post-secondary education.”

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