Beginning in 2016, in order to claim an American Opportunity or lifetime learning credit or a deduction for education-related tuition and fees, you must have received a Form 1098-T. The form reports qualified tuition and related expenses received by the educational institution. The information reported on this form will be matched against the information reported to the IRS. If you have educational expenses eligible for the credit or deduction, you should receive Form 1098-T from the educational institution to which you made payments by January 31, 2017.
While the form is supposed to report the aggregate amount of payments received by the educational institution, there is a one year transition period where institutions may report the amount billed for 2016 rather than the amount paid.
Because the form only reports qualified tuition and related expenses, you may see a discrepancy between the amounts you paid and the amounts reported. This is due to the fact that certain expenses, such as fees for room, board, insurance, medical expenses, transportation, etc. are not considered qualified tuition and related expenses and thus are not reported on Form 1098-T.