In an effort to get you as many credits possible, TurboTax automatically claims any credits that it thinks you are eligible for. If you worked, but have a low income, TurboTax will claim the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), which is a refundable tax credit for people who work, but don’t make very much. However, students are usually not eligible for this credit, so when you tell TurboTax that you have tuition, then the WITB is removed if you no longer qualify for it.
The tuition is a non-refundable credit, which means that it can only be used to reduce your tax payable. If you have no tax payable, you will not get the credit, and it will not be added to your refund. You don’t have to claim your tuition, but if you don’t claim it, you can’t use it in the future. It is better to claim it now, even if you don’t have any tax owing, so that it will carry forward to future years, when you can use it. You can also transfer your tuition amount to a spouse/partner, or a parent or grandparent.