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Tax Incentives for Higher Education

The tax code provides a variety of tax incentives for families who are saving for, or already paying, higher education costs or are repaying student loans. The Tuition and Fees Deduction expired December 31, 2013. Under current law, the education credit is not available for tax years after 2013. You may claim it on your tax year 2013 tax return.

The Hope and Lifetime Learning Credit is for the qualified tuition and related expenses of the students in your family (i.e., you, your spouse, or an eligible dependent) who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. Different rules apply to each credit. If you claim a Hope Scholarship Credit for a particular student, none of that student's expenses for that year may be applied toward the Lifetime Learning Credit.  

The tuition deduction is up to $4,000 of qualified education expenses paid during the year for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. The qualified expenses must be for higher education.

You may be able to deduct interest you paid on a qualified student loan. And, if your student loan was canceled, you may not have to include any amount in income. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not need to itemize your deductions on Schedule A Form 1040.  

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 23-Jan-2017