Hope & Lifetime Learning Credits

Generally, you can claim an education credit if all three of the following requirements are met.
1) You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
2) You pay the tuition and related expenses for an eligible student.
3) The eligible student is either yourself, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemptionon your tax return.

Comparison of Education Credits
Hope Credit Lifetime Learning Credit
Up to $1,500 credit per eligible student Up to $2,000 credit per return
Available ONLYuntil 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 educational 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

Who Cannot Claim the Credit

  • You cannot claim an education credit for 2003 if anyof 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’).

  • Your modified adjusted gross income is $51,000 or more ($103,000 or more in the case of a joint return). Modified adjusted gross income 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 2003 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.

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