Presently, Canadian students in full-time attendance at a university outside of Canada in a course lasting at least 13 consecutive weeks and leading to a degree are eligible for the Tuition Tax Credit, the Education Tax Credit and the Textbook Tax Credit. Similarly, a Canadian student can currently receive Educational Assistance Payments ("EAPs") from a Registered Education Savings Plan for enrolment at an educational institution outside Canada that provides courses at a post-secondary school level provided the student is enrolled in a course of not less than 13 consecutive weeks.
Many programs at foreign universities are based on semesters shorter than 13 weeks, resulting in many Canadian students being denied tax recognition of education costs that would otherwise be eligible for the credits or access to EAPs.
In order to improve the tax recognition of education costs and access to EAPs for Canadian post-secondary students who study abroad, the Budget proposes to reduce the minimum course-duration requirement from 13 to three consecutive weeks. It also proposes that the 13-consecutive-week requirement for EAP purposes be reduced to three consecutive weeks when the student is enrolled at a university in a full-time course.
This measure will apply with respect to tuition fees paid for courses taken in the 2011 and subsequent taxation years and to EAPs made after 2010.