American Opportunity Tax Credit

Here are some important facts to help you and your family determine your eligibility for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, a part of the tax code that supports students and their families in paying for college. Please see for more information.

  • The American Opportunity Tax Credit can be claimed for expenses for the first four years of post-secondary education.
  • It is a tax credit of up to $2,500 of the cost of qualified tuition and related expenses paid during the taxable year.
  • Qualifying expenses include tuition, books, supplies and equipment needed for a course of study
  • Taxpayers will receive a tax credit based on 100 percent of the first $2,000 of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year, plus 25 percent of the next $2,000 of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year.
  • If you are eligible for more credit than your tax liability, up to a maximum refund of 40 percent of the amount of the credit for which you're eligible is refundable to you.
  • Taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income of $80,000 or less ($160,000 or less for joint filers) are potentially eligible for the full credit and the credit is reduced ratably up for modified adjusted gross incomes up to $90,000.
  • To claim the credit you, or the person who claims you as a dependent, must use Form 8863 available on
  • You cannot claim the tuition and fees tax deduction in the same year that you claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit.

More information

About American Opportunity Credit

Publication 970 (2010), Tax Benefits for Education