American Opportunity Tax Credit

What would you do to get $2,500 for attending UC?

Would you share this with your parents? (HINT: you should!)

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a federal program that provides up to $2,500 a year to help offset the cost of your tuition, fees, books, and supplies during your first four years of college. Talk with a tax professional or visit Tax Credit for details, but here are the basics.

How do I qualify?

If you're like most UC undergraduates, your parents claim you as a dependent and will file for the tax credit on their tax return. They may qualify for it if they earn less than $180,000 a year ($90,000 for single filers) and if you're enrolled as an undergraduate at UC at least half time. If you are not claimed as dependent, you may qualify according to the same income limits. Filers who don't qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit.

How do I claim the credit?

If your parents claim you as dependent on their tax return, be sure to give them the IRS "Tuition Statement" Form 1098-T that UC will send you in the mail. Consider signing up to receive your 1098-T electronically so you can email the form to your parents.


If you file your own taxes, your tax preparer or tax filing software will guide you through the process. Be sure to include the 8863 Form

How much will I get?

The maximum credit is $2,500. Even if you do not owe taxes, you may be able to receive up to $1,000 (40% of the credit is refundable!)

What educational expenses qualify?

Out-of-pocket payments for tuition, fees, required textbooks, course materials, and supplies qualify.

Can I get the credit if I use loans to pay for school?

Yes. Qualified expenses paid with student or parent loans are eligible for this tax credit. However, qualified expenses paid with grants or scholarships are not eligible.

My parents have two children in college. Can they claim the credit for both of us?

Yes, as long as both students are undergraduates enrolled at least half time at an eligible institution and in their first four years of a program leading to a degree or certificate.

For more information:

Internal Revenue Service:

FinAid: Guide to Financial Aid:

US Tax Credit Reporting Service: or call (877) 467-3821