Jane J: Wayne assumed you meant a refund when filing taxes. Usually any education credit is paid to their parents.
Some students also refer to a refund check as the left over amount from a loan after paying for tuition. This is not the same think as all of the money has to be paid back over time and isn't actually a refund.
A tax refund is based on multiple factors.
However, while full-time students in their first four years of college qualify for either the Lifetime Learning Credit OR the American Opportunity Credit, part-time students only qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Credit, in many cases, is a much more generous credit.
So, if you have to make generalizations, full-time students generally get a bigger Education Tax Credit than part-time students but they also have more expenses and less time to work.
There is no "college refund check" so I will address general tax benefits for higher education. There are more tax benefits for full-time students than for part-time students, so in general a FT student may get a bigger refund than a PT student if everything is the same on both returns (namely, income and education expenses).
The actual discriminating factor is whether the student if "more than half-time" or not.
if the students don't work, it doesn't matter, full or part time, there very likely is nothing to refund
now if you are possibly referring to the tuition credit, the student won't get it at all, no matter what they participate in, the credit is reported on their parents' tax return
Full time students get bigger ones.
It depends on how much they overpaid.