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Great links on the subject.
Wow… What a frickin’ mess..
The Journal of Accountancy link is from Mar 2012, and is quite dated. That itself says they are “still” waiting for IRS guidelines! Not sure of the date on the DSJ CPA write-up. Seems to be more recent.
In any case, in the older articles the conservative case was to consider it as the student’s contribution as the goal was for the parents to claim an exemption.
Now that the exemption is worthless, everyone will be trying to claim it as the student’s contribution to get the standard deduction. So, the conservative case is to consider it as the parent’s contribution!
Maybe the IRS just intentionally wants to leave it ambiguous so that honest and risk-averse voluntarily choose to pay up.