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Tax Credits for College Students

Millions of students and their families who are struggling to pay for college may not realize that they’re eligible to take advantage of education tax benefits. The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides up to $2,500 a year of the out-of-pocket cost of tuition and qualified education expenses including books, supplies, and equipment needed for a course of study, paid during the taxable year for the first four years of college. Forty percent of the credit is refundable, with the maximum refundable amount of $1,000 allowing taxpayers with zero tax liability to receive a refund.

The credit can significantly offset or eliminate what was spent on course materials, supplies, and equipment for the average student in their first four years of college. These are benefits students and their families should be aware of.

Key features of the AOTC include:

  • Up to $2,500 per student a year for tuition, fees and course materials
  • Don’t make enough to owe taxes? You STILL may qualify for up to $1,000
  • For students who are at least half-time in a degree or certificate program, or a program leading to recognized education credential and have no felony drug convictions
  • Can be used for four years of higher education as long as the school is eligible to participate in a federal student aid program administered by the U.S. Education Department
  • Available to individuals with less than $90,000 or joint return filers with less than $180,000 in income
  • Are you an undergraduate? Job training student? Apprentice? See if you qualify

Students not qualifying for the AOTC may qualify instead for up to $2,000 per year for out of pocket tuition and fees, per return, through the Lifetime Learning Credit. The campaign urges students to check out IRS resources to see whether they qualify for these important benefits.

Students and their families can find out if they qualify for these benefits by visiting

  • Office Locations

    Office Name Location Image Map URL
    Washington DC 2159 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    p. (202) 225-5006
    f. (202) 225-5641
    Chicago Office 2815 W. Fifth Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60612
    p. (773) 533-7520
    f. (844) 274-0426

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    repName Danny K. Davis  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago District Office
    2813-15 W. Fifth Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60612
    district 7th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR Il  
    repDistrict 7  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 7th  
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