IRS Logo
 
Print - Click this link to Print this page

Education Credits

Question: What expenses qualify for an education credit?

Answer:

There are two tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education by reducing the amount of your income tax.  They are the American opportunity credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.  Expenses that qualify for an education credit are qualified tuition and related expenses paid by the taxpayer during the taxable year.  Qualified tuition and related expenses are tuition and fees required for the enrollment or attendance of the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse or the taxpayer's dependent at an eligible educational institution for courses of instruction.  An eligible educational institution means a college, university, vocational school or other postsecondary educational institution that is accredited and eligible to participate in the student aid programs administered by the Department of Education.

Qualified tuition and related expenses do not include the following types of expenses:

  • Expenses related to any course of instruction or education involving sports, games or hobbies, or to any noncredit course (unless the course is part of the student's degree program or, in the case of the Lifetime Learning Credit, the student takes the course to improve job skills),
  • Student activity fees (unless required for enrollment or attendance),
  • Athletic fees (unless required for enrollment or attendance),
  • Costs of room and board,
  • Insurance premiums or medical expenses (including student health fees),
  • Transportation expenses, and
  • Other personal, living or family expenses. 

The American Taxpayer Relief Act extends through 2017 the enhanced provisions of the American opportunity credit (AOC), which is a temporary version of the original Hope Scholarship Credit.  For the AOC provisions, student activity fees are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.  However, expenses for books, supplies, and equipment needed for a course of study are included in qualified education expenses whether or not the materials are purchased from the educational institution.

For the permanent Lifetime Learning Credit, student activity fees and expenses for course-related books, supplies, and equipment are included in qualified education expenses only if the fees and expenses must be paid to the institution for enrollment or attendance.

Additional Information:


Category: Child Care Credit, Other Credits
Subcategory: Education Credits

Please provide your feedback.

1. Was it easy to find your information within the above Frequently Asked Question?

2. How satisfied are you with the information provided within the above Frequently Asked Question?

3. If you still need help from the IRS, what would your next step be?




The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224