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Category : > Income Tax Filing Across The USA
Posted On : Fri Nov 26th,2010



The Education Credits are split into two tax credits (referred to here as education credits) available to persons who pay expenses for higher education. They are:

  • The Hope credit, and

  • The lifetime learning credit.

For each student, you can elect for any year only one of the credits. For example, if you elect to take the Hope credit for a child on your 2007 tax return, you cannot, for that same child, also claim the lifetime learning credit for 2007.

If you are eligible to claim the Hope credit and you are also eligible to claim the lifetime learning credit for the same student in the same year, you can choose to claim either credit, but not both. For 2007, if the total qualified education expenses for a student are less than $8,250, it will generally be to your benefit to claim the Hope credit.

If you pay qualified education expenses for more than one student in the same year, you can choose to take credits on a per-student, per-year basis. This means that, for example, you can claim the Hope credit for one student and the lifetime learning credit for another student in the same year.             

Comparison of Education Credits
Hope Credit Lifetime Learning Credit
Up to $1,650 credit per eligible student Up to $2,000 credit per return
Available ONLY until the first 2 years of postsecondary education are completed Available for all years of postsecondary
education and for courses to acquire or
improve job skills
Available ONLY for 2 years per eligible student Available for an unlimited number of years
Student must be pursuing an undergraduate degree or other recognized educational credential Student does not need to be pursuing a degree
or other recognized education credential
Student must be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period beginning during the year Available for one or more courses
No felony drug conviction on student's record Felony drug conviction rule does not apply


Generally, you can claim an education credit if all three of the following requirements are met.
  • You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.

  • You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.

  • The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return.

Note. Qualified education expenses paid by a dependent for whom you claim an exemption, or by a third party for that dependent, are considered paid by you.


You cannot claim an education credit for 2007 if any of the following apply.

  • Your filing status is married filing separately.

  • You are listed as a dependent in the Exemptions section on another person's tax return (such as your parents'). See Who Can Claim a Dependent's Expenses, later.

  • Your MAGI is $57,000 or more ($114,000 or more in the case of a joint return). MAGI is explained later under Effect of the Amount of Your Income on the Amount of Your Credit.

  • You (or your spouse) were a nonresident alien for any part of 2007 and the nonresident alien did not elect to be treated as a resident alien for tax purposes. More information on nonresident aliens can be found in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

  • You claim a tuition and fees deduction for the same student in 2007


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