Tax attorney here with an LLM in taxation.
Here is the IRS regulation as it relates to dependency:
Sec. 1.152-1 General definition of a dependent.
Code Section 152
(1) For purposes of the income taxes imposed on individuals by chapter 1 of the Code, the term "dependent" means any individual described in paragraphs (1) through (10) of section 152(a)
over half of whose support, for the calendar year in which the taxable year of the taxpayer begins, was received from the taxpayer.
(i) For purposes of determining whether or not an individual received, for a given calendar year, over half of his support from the taxpayer, there shall be taken into account the amount of support received from the taxpayer as compared to the entire amount of support which the individual received from all sources
, including support which the individual himself supplied. The term "support" includes food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, education, and the like. Generally, the amount of an item of support will be the amount of expense incurred by the one furnishing such item. If the item of support furnished an individual is in the form of property or lodging, it will be necessary to measure the amount of such item of support in terms of its fair market value.
The worksheet referenced in this thread was designed for all people and does not take into account the 4,000 or so plebes/airmen/midshipmen, etc. each year. Also, a Service Academy does meet the definition of a college and the benefits do not meet the definition of a scholarship. Given that we did not give DS over 1/2 of his support when viewed with his earnings and expenditures, together with the support received from West Point and the US Government, and based on the regulations, we chose to not claim DS as a dependent.
Hope this provides some clarity.