An image of a crossword puzzle with event-themed words

This program was a great starting point for updating my skills by meeting and learning from professionals

Kitty C., Spring 2015

Event Development

The Event Development Certificate is designed for both seasoned professionals in the event and meeting planning industry as well as for individuals with little or no event experience. 

It is offered as a 16 week sequential eight-course program that meets on Fridays and Saturdays every other weekend with an overall goal of teaching students how to plan a successful event from start to finish.  This program includes 110 total hours of instruction (102 hours of core curriculum with 8 hours of required electives) and is taught by qualified event professionals, most of whom hold an industry certification. 

Upon completion of this program graduates will be able to:

  • Develop a strategic plan for an event
  • Assess and manage the entire financial process
  • Select an appropriate site and design scheme
  • Recognize and market the event to the target audience
  • Engage volunteers and staff in the success of the event
  • Identify, analyze and manage risks and security issues
  • Incorporate sustainability practices into event planning process

Why choose the Duke Event Development Certificate program?

  • Delivers the most comprehensive event management curriculum in North Carolina with over 100 course hours
  • Incorporates emerging industry trends such as sustainability, event management software and social media
  • Challenges students to apply material learned in the classroom to the design of an event
  • Encompasses four specialty elective courses that supplement more in-depth learning opportunities
  • Integrates site visits to different event venues to reinforce classroom instruction
  • Connects students to current trends through two complementary subscriptions to industry publications: Meeting Professionals International's One+ Magazine and Smart Meetings Magazine

*While this program is intended to cover the international standards of meeting/event planning at the topical level, supporting details focused upon in the classroom may be relevant to the event resources available in the United States.

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Curriculum & Course Details

This program includes 110 total hours of instruction (102 hours of core curriculum with 8 hours of required electives).

Core Topics

  • Strategic Planning
  • Financial Management
  • Project Management
  • Site Management
  • Event Design
  • Sustainability
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Risk Management
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Event Production

Please note: There will be several times when this class meets in a special location during the course.  These dates will be noted on the class syllabus.

In addition to the core topics mentioned above, students will be required to complete two elective courses. (two electives = eight hours)

Elective Courses

Sustainable Events
Gain the knowledge to incorporate green strategies into event development. Facilitated by NC GreenPower.

Planning a Celebratory Event
Identify and discuss strategic challenges and rewards associated with the development of a matrimonial event.

Event Décor
Explore design elements and current trends.  Learn how to design an event with style and flair.

Event Manager Shadowing: Behind the Scenes at the Durham Convention Center
Experience the “behind-the-scenes” planning of events underway at the Durham Convention Center. Students interested in this aspect of event development will have the rare opportunity to shadow convention center event managers during this elective.  Space limited.

Elective courses are four hours in length; the dates and times for each elective are listed on the Schedule & Registration section. Students may register for and attend as many electives as they choose.

Important: Students will receive an email from the Program Manager within three business days of their registration which will include details on how to register for their chosen electives. 

When choosing two elective courses, please note:

  • Elective courses are offered at no additional cost.
  • Full attendance is mandatory for at least two elective courses.
  • Students may register for up to four elective courses.
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  • Associates degree (2 yr) recommended. If student does not have an Associate's degree, 2 years of experience (in any industry) may be substituted for the education recommendation.

    Resume and/or transcripts (copies are acceptable) must be submitted to Program Manager before the start of the program

    • Email:
    • Fax: 919-668-6747
    • Mail: Duke University Continuing Studies, Attn: Whitney Murphy, Smith Warehouse, Bay 6, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90708, Durham, NC 27708
  • Any requests for exceptions to the above admission requirement must be submitted via email to and will be reviewed at Program Manager’s discretion
  • Payment in full prior to start of program (payment plan available, see the Tuition & Payment Options section)
  • Fluency in English, including reading and writing, required
  • Computer literacy (Microsoft Office products will be used regularly.)
  • Access to a computer during the program
  • Valid email account (must be a Yahoo, Gmail or AOL email address)
    • Please note that if you do not have one of these email accounts you will be required to create one prior to the first day of the course.
  • Vehicle for transportation to multiple venues and signed transportation waiver

Admission is discretionary. Duke Continuing Studies Professional Certificate Programs requires students be a least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards. Students are not matriculated Duke University students and university student privileges do not apply to Continuing Studies students.  Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of, any student or applicant.

Certificate requirements

  • 80% full attendance of total required sessions
  • Assignments completed per guidelines and deadlines established by instructors
  • Tuition paid in full
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Schedule & Registration


This program is offered as an alternate weekend program 9/16/2016 through 1/21/2017. Classes are held every other Friday and Saturday.* The program is a total of 110 hours of instruction comprised of both a “core” curriculum (102 hrs) and “elective courses” (8 required hours).

The four elective specialty courses are offered at 4 hours each on specific Friday mornings (except the special elective). Students may choose to enroll in all four elective courses if they wish; however, it is mandatory that students complete (full attendance) two of the four elective courses (8 hrs).

Weekend One
Friday 9/16/2016 (12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Saturday 9/17/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Lunch will be provided this Friday.
Weekend Two
"Sustainable Events
Friday 9/30/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
Friday 9/30/2016 (1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
Saturday 10/1/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Weekend Three
Saturday 10/15/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Weekend Four  
"Event Décor
Friday 10/28/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
Friday 10/28/2016 (1:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
Saturday 10/29/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Weekend Five  
"Celebratory Events"
Friday 11/11/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
Friday 11/11/2016 (1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
Saturday 11/12/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Weekend Six  
Friday 12/2/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Saturday 12/3/2016 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Weekend Seven  
Friday 1/6/2017 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Saturday 1/7/2017 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Weekend Eight  
Friday 1/20/2017 (1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
Saturday 1/21/2017 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Special Elective  
Special   Elective: "Event Manager Shadowing: Behind the Scenes at the Durham Convention Center" 
TBD (Space Limited)

*Students will be given a one-hour lunch break each Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Continuing Studies reserves the right to change date/time, location, and/or instructor(s) as warranted.


  • Please review the admission requirements listed on this site.
  • Upon registering send your resume and/or transcript (with proof of 2 year degree or equivalent experience) to Program Manager. Please note transcript and/or resume must be received before start of program.
    • Email:
    • Fax: 919-668-6747
    • Mail: Duke University Continuing Studies, Attn: Whitney Murphy, Smith Warehouse, Bay 6, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90708, Durham, NC 27708

Registration Methods

  1. Register Online for the core curriculum course using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system.  Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out. The Program Director will then contact you with instructions on how to register for the electives.
  2. Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 to register during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST). Please note that loan applicants or students who plan to use the payment plan must call to register.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be certified as a meeting planner after I complete this program?

No, Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) does not certify individuals.  DCS provides a certificate of completion that states students have met all requirements for the program. 

Certification as a meeting planner requires passing a national examination and meeting other criteria. For more information on the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification exam, please visit the Convention Industry Council's website.

Is tuition assistance available for this program?

Yes. A 2-part payment plan and several loan options are available. Please see the Tuition & Payment Options section for more information.

Will this course prepare me for the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) exam?

The topics covered in this program follow the established domains as outlined by the 2012 CMP International Standards put forth by the CIC (Convention Industry Council) and, therefore, parallel those covered on the CMP exam.  However, this program is not intended to be an exam preparation program.

Will all of the classes be held at Duke University?

Duke University will be the venue used most often during the program; however, the location may vary according to curriculum requirements.

What are the requirements to complete this program?

Students must attend 80% of total sessions, complete all required tests/assignments and pay tuition in full in order to receive the completion certificate.

Does Duke Continuing Studies allow students with international degrees to enroll in this program?

Yes. DCS will allow students with international degrees to enroll in this program.  International degrees must be equivalent to at least a US Associate’s degree and proof of such equivalency must be provided. Students should contact World Education Services (WES) or another educational document translation service as soon as possible to begin the process or proving degree equivalency (fees may apply).  Students are required to send transcripts (copies are acceptable) to Program Manager before the start of the program:

  • Email:
  • Fax: 919-668-6747
  • Mail: Duke University Continuing Studies, Attn: Whitney Murphy, Smith Warehouse, Bay 6, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90708, Durham, NC 27708

Can international students pursue the CMP designation?

Yes. Any student must have 36 months or more of full time experience working in the event industry.  If a student has less than 36 months of experience, he/she must also have a Bachelor’s degree (or its international equivalent) in a related field (meeting, event, exhibition and/or hospitality/tourism management).

Visit the Convention Industry Council online for more details about application requirements for the CMP exam.

Will Duke assist me with registering for the CMP exam or any other related exam?

No, students are responsible for applying for and paying any fees associated with the exam application.

Are books required for this program?

No books are required for this program.

Is parking included in tuition?

Yes, parking at all venues that are required during program is included in program fee.

Can I register for just a single course in the program?  Example: Marketing.

This program is only sold as a package, and as such, students must complete all courses to earn the certificate of completion.

Does this program offer any job placement for graduates?

No, students are responsible for securing their own employment upon completion of the program.

When will I receive more information about the program?

Registered students will receive orientation information via email within one week prior to the start of the program.

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Mary-Margaret Armstrong, CAE, CMP

Mary-Margaret (“MM”) Armstrong, a native North Carolinian, has over 20 years experience in the meeting planning and association industries.  After working with corporations in various operational and management roles, she seized the opportunity to source and execute 100s of meetings for clients in the pharmaceutical industry and then went on to serve in a sales and consulting capacity for a national meeting planners network group.  From there, she joined Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, providing services to over 6000 members, managing 14 domestic and 1 international chapter boards as well as half of the organization’s full time staff, and held the position of Vice President, Membership and Education.  In 2013, she joined her husband’s aviation sales firm assisting with events and operations and eventually branched out to serve more clients in an independent consulting capacity. MM is a graduate of UNC-Wilmington with a BA in Political Science and achieved both the CMP and CAE certifications.  She is well versed in the meetings and association industries and is especially skilled at building effective client and colleague relationships, developing strategy, improving process and efficiency, providing critical assessment and problem solving, imparting strong organizational techniques and follow through acumen. She is a driven performer keenly focused on organizational and leadership goals and outcomes as well as individual professional growth.

Grace Beason

Grace L.P. Beason is the Owner and Lead Consultant at Grace Leisure Events LLC, which she founded in late 2005.  She has over 13 years of experience in planning social events, fundraisers and weddings, and previously worked as a planner for The Catering Company of Chapel Hill, NC and Marcy Blum Associates, Susan Bell Special Events, and The Knot Inc., all in New York City.  Grace is a member of the Triangle chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives and was recently awarded with the title of Best Wedding of 2011 (having previously won the same award in 2009.)  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in the History of Art from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

Diane Butzer

Diane Butzer has over 20 years’ experience in the meetings industry.  Diane has worked in both the airline and hotel industry before working as a meeting planner primarily in the corporate world. Most recently she is an Event Logistics Manager for BCD Meetings & Incentives working onsite at Cisco Systems.  Her past experience includes working in the pharmaceutical industry and she worked for 7 years as a Corporate Meeting Planner at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.  Diane has earned both the CMP and CMM credentials.  She has served on the Carolinas Chapter of Meeting Professionals International as a past board member.  In 2007, she was named the chapter’s Meeting Planner of the Year.  Diane is a graduate of High Point University with a B.S. in Marketing.  She also holds an associate’s degree in Travel & Tourism from Herkimer Country Community College.  Diane is originally from Western New York however has lived in North Carolina since 1989.

Jon Campos, CMP

Jon Campos is Manager of Conference Operations at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in Durham, NC.  Previously Jon worked as Assistant Director with the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) and as Meetings Director at the North Carolina Bankers Association.  He has a Master of Science degree in Textiles from North Carolina State University and has over 15 years of conference planning experience.  After serving as a graduate teaching assistant while attending NC State, Jon became interested in conference planning while working on technical programs for the textile industry.  Since then he has managed events of all sizes throughout the United States and has also worked in Europe and the Caribbean.

Ashley Feit

Ashley Feit has 15 years of corporate experience in public relations, communications and marketing.  She earned a B.A. in Mass Communications with a focus on public relations and an M.B.A. with a concentration in marketing from the University of South Florida.  Ashley is a Program Manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina where she is responsible for planning and implementing educational events for members. She was previously a Marketing Manager for BASF and for Richmond American Homes where she was responsible for developing and implementing marketing plans for new products, trade shows and brand awareness as well as planning special events. Career highlights include being named a President’s Award winner at BASF and having two of her articles featured as cover stories in industry magazines. She is an active member of the Triangle chapter of the American Marketing Association and volunteers with the Cary Creative Center.

Allin Foulkrod, CSEP

Allin Foulkrod is the President and Founder of Creative Visions, an event production company based in Raleigh, NC since 1989.  Creative Visions has produced events in over 15 countries and throughout North America.  Honors and accolades have included numerous community and industry awards for Allin and Creative Visions, such as:  Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2007, Business Leaders Magazine’s Top Entrepreneur 2013, International Special Events Society (ISES) Esprit Awards in 2009, 2012 and 2013 finalist.  Allin is a sought-after presenter and consultant and has spoken at international industry events.  As one of the first 200 people globally to obtain the Certified Special Event Planner (CSEP) designation, his focus for himself and his company is to provide a continuous learning environment.  Creative Visions’ mission is to design, produce and actualize spectacular events, while ensuring substance within the spectacle.

Amanda Law

Amanda Law is a Conference Service Manager at Biltmore Estate with 10 years of experience in corporate, association and fundraising events.  She earned a B.S. in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication at Appalachian State University and serves as a founding board member and Communications Chair for the Appalachian Chapter of the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE).  Prior to moving to Western North Carolina, Amanda worked at the Raleigh office of the American Diabetes Association as a Manager of Fundraising and Events.  She also assisted with the opening of The Umstead Hotel & Spa as Conference Service Manager and began her events career at The Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC.

Elizabeth Peeler, CMP, CMM

Elizabeth Davis Peeler gained experience during her 15 years planning for corporations such as Progress Energy and First Citizens Bank before going out on her own in 2003 as an independent meeting planner and event consultant.  She started D-P Planning Meetings & Events and began managing meetings and conferences for companies around the Triangle and beyond.  Elizabeth is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, SC, where she earned a BA in English.

Matthew Royse

Matthew Royse is a senior communications manager for Forsythe Technology, an IT infrastructure integrator. In this role, he is the lead content marketing and social media strategist. Matthew is the managing editor for the award-winning Forsythe FOCUS magazine and oversees Forsythe’s social media presence. His background includes working for a PR firm in downtown Chicago, as a publicist at the National Geographic Channel, a spokesman for a national trade association and a marketing pro for NewsChannel 8, a 24-hour news station in Washington, D.C. He earned his MBA from DePaul University with concentrations in Integrated Marketing Communications and Marketing Strategy and Planning. He received his B.A. in Speech Communications from Penn State University. He is a contributor to the Content Marketing Institute blog and Ragan’s PR Daily. He writes about marketing, public relations and social media on his blog, Knowledge Enthusiast. He has run two marathons (Chicago and New York) and two half marathons.

Caroline Sewell

Caroline Sewell has enjoyed over 14 years of success as owner of Encore Events, Inc., designing events for social and corporate clients.   Growing up enjoying the excitement of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the pomp and circumstance of Washington, D.C., Caroline always knew she wanted to create memories for others to cherish.  She has held many positions at the local and international level of the International Special Events Society (ISES) and is currently the Volunteer Editor of “Think ISES” found in Special Events Magazine.  Caroline holds a B.S in Marketing Management from Virginia Tech and enjoys the opportunity to encourage those interested in seeking a career in the event industry.

Katie Shepherd Lebrato

A North Carolina native, Katie Shepherd Lebrato is a graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design. After graduating, Katie spent a decade at an established downtown Raleigh advertising agency as their Creative Director and real estate Account Executive. She joined the nonprofit NC GreenPower in 2008 as their Marketing and Communications Manager. In her current position, she serves as a liaison between the statewide organization and the public. She attends up to 80 events annually and works with local businesses and organizations to help them green up their carbon footprint. Katie has a combined 15 years of experience in the marketing, communications and advertising fields. She has a passion for sustainability and is well-networked in the environmental community.

Sally Webb, CSEP

Sally Webb is CEO of The Special Event Company (TSEC), with offices in North Carolina, USA and London, England.  Sally founded TSEC in 1986 from a background in sports PR and marketing as one of the first dedicated event management companies in the UK.  Her personal accolades include International Event Producer of the Yearby Event Solutions Magazine in 2004, Lifetime Achievement Awardfrom the International Special Events Society (ISES) in 2008, Business Leader Magazines Top 50 Women Extraordinaire Award in 2010 and Special Event Magazines Top 25 Greatest Industry Influencers of the past 25 years in 2011.  Sally is a founding member and former President of the United Kingdom Chapter of the International Special Events Society, and past Regional Vice President for the Euro-Africa Region. She currently sits on the Certification Committee for ISES and was the first European to obtain the Certified Special Event Planner (CSEP) designation.

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Tuition & Funding Sources



Parking for all program venues is included in the price listed above.

Payment Plan

A two-part payment plan is available.  Payment #1 in the amount of $1500 is due at initial registration; payment #2 in the amount of $1495 is due by Friday, November 11, 2016.

Registering for this program obligates you to full payment owed, as you are reserving a seat for the entire term regardless of withdrawal during the program.

Failure to make payments on time will result in immediate dismissal from the program.

If you would like to set up this payment plan, please call 919-684-6259 to register by phone.

You may qualify for a loan applicable to this program. Please see the funding sources below for more details.

Funding Sources

Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Some of our programs may offer payment plans. Please see individual program web pages for those details.

No loans (Wells Fargo Graduate loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Undergraduate loan, etc.) can be construed to imply any degree-seeking status for students of Duke Continuing studies. Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-credit.

Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Students needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the student.

Should a student choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.

Please note that DCS will not certify amounts that include separate fees for books, materials, etc.  Should you choose to borrow less than the amount of the program, you are responsible for paying the balance prior to the program start date.

Loan Options

Your local bank may offer other options for loans or a "line of credit" service. Contact your bank for more information on financing choices.

Please note you must register by phone at 919-684-6259 for the program before you can seek any loan funding.

Other Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan

To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, select the Undergraduate Student Loan and then click Apply Now.   The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

To apply for this loan, visit Wells Fargo. Duke Continuing Studies will be required to certify your loan application for the Graduate Loan should you be approved by Wells Fargo.

You will need to enter the following information after clicking on Apply Now in the Before Starting Your Application section:

  • Find a loan for: Graduate School Expenses
  • I am a: Student
  • School state: North Carolina
  • School name: please type Duke University Continuing Education
  • Grade Level: Beyond 3rd Year Graduate
  • Field of Study: Undecided or select Other and type in the field of study
  • Citizenship: Select as appropriate

Duke Hospital Employees

Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.

Workforce Investment Act

The WIA provides professional and basic skills training services to those who have been unable to find employment. Please keep in mind that this process can be lengthy, so plan to apply well in advance of the program start date.  For more information on eligibility, the application process, or to find your local Workforce Development Board, visit the NC JobLink Career Center website.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.

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Policies & Procedures

Refund Policy

Overnight programs have different cancellation policies. Please see program descriptions for details.

Refund and Change Requests must be in writing. To receive a refund, minus a processing fee for each course cancelled, we must receive your written cancellation request at least two weeks prior to the start of the program or course. Processing fees are:

  • $20 for course fees under $500
  • $100 for course fees $500 or more

To submit a cancellation request:
Fax: 919-681-8235
Registration - Duke Continuing Studies
Box 90700
Durham, NC 27708-0700

Include your name, address, phone number, and course title to be dropped. Refunds will be made in the manner you paid us.

Refunds for Online Courses

There are no refunds or cancellations for online courses.

Bad Checks

If a check is returned for insufficient funds, we will charge a returned check fee of $35. Checks will not be resubmitted. The replacement payment must include the additional $35 and be in the form of cash, money order, or credit card.

Course is Filled / Waiting List

If a course is already filled, a waiting list is usually available instead. If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes available, a registration staff member will call you and ask if you are still interested. If you are interested, registration staff can take your payment information over the phone and complete your registration at that time.

If We Cancel a Course

Sometimes we have to cancel a course that does not meet minimum enrollment, or due to unforeseen events. If that happens, you will receive a full refund. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”

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