What does the check mark in Box 8 mean?
Box 9, if checked, indicates that you were enrolled in a graduate program for one or more quarters during the tax year. The University checks this box if you attended as a graduate student for any quarter of your enrollment during the tax year.
In order to claim the Hope Credit, a student must not have completed the first 2 years of postsecondary education (generally, the freshman and sophomore years of college) as of the beginning of the tax year. (See "Who is an Eligible Student" in Chapter 1 of IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education [download] for more information.)
Note that the lack of a check mark in this box does not guarantee eligibility for the Hope Credit, which must be claimed within the first two years of postsecondary education. Since the Lifetime Learning Credit is not so limited, you may choose to apply expenses for graduate-level degree work towards claiming this benefit.