Federal Tax Credits
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Education Credit Rules

The education credit rules below apply to both Hope credit and Lifetime Learning tax credit. To claim either education credit, you must meet all of the following requirements.

  • You paid qualified expenses for an eligible student and

  • the eligible student is:

    • yourself,

    • your spouse or

    • a dependent you can claim on your tax return.
Qualified education expenses rules

In general, qualified expenses are tuition and fees you are required to pay to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. Course-related books, supplies, and equipment and student activity fees are included in qualified tuition and related expenses only if the fees must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.

Eligible educational institution rules

An eligible educational institution is any college, university or vocational school eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the US Department of Education. The school will be able to tell you if it is an eligible institution.

Education Credit Rules

Eligible student rules

An eligible student must be enrolled at an eligible educational institution for at least one academic period (semester, quarter, and summer session) during the tax year.

You can take the credit for expenses for an academic period that begins the same year you paid the expenses or for prepaid expenses.

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