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There are some possible scenarios here. Please give me a moment to type them out.
It is not a good idea to receive this money the same way an employee would.
He is allowed to gift you a certain amount from his personal money without incurring a gift tax. I would personally ask for checks, paypal or an electronic service like Venmo.
If there is any way he can pay the school directly that would help for some of the expenses. He may have to incur the gift tax on funds given to you directly over $14,000. You are allowed to receive money from people. They should be able to see the source of the funds and realize it is not illegal. For example, you have a check deposited from your relative.
No. To be an employee you must also fill out W-4 and I-9 plus application for employment. Direct deposit form is not enough to argue employment.