My guess is that most people just use all the mandatory fees on their bill as they don't know which ones they would need to exclude (although that is no excuse). I do think I have seen earlier posts asking about whether a particular fee is eligible. I do think I am on top of many financial issues and I am clueless as to which of the many fees listed on my children's accounts are eligible. I have Googled this subject and generally find most sites say mandatory fees are eligible. Some articles will mention some fees that are not eligible, such as sports and activity fees. However, it was unclear to me if this kind of fee was related to a sport or activity done by the child vs everyone at the school pays a generic activity fee. I also looked at Pub 970. The main thing I see there is the following: “The following expenses must be required for enrollment or attendance of a designated beneficiary at an eligible postsecondary school. a. Tuition and fees. b. Books, supplies, and equipment.” Are there other sections in there that spell it out better? From a practical point of view, as colleges all name their fees differently, it would seem to me if the fee is mandatory and not related to some extra-curricular activity, it could be viewed as a qualified expense.
I would be interested in some mandatory fees you think are not qualified.