What is the Lifetime Learning Credit?
Updated over a week ago

This article was updated for Tax Year 2023, last edited on December 21st, 2023.

The Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) is a credit that can be used for qualified tuition and associated costs for eligible students enrolled in an eligible educational institution. This credit can be used to offset the cost of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs, as well as programs to develop or enhance employment skills. The number of years you can use the credit is unlimited. A maximum credit of $2,000 is available.

The law mandates that a taxpayer (or a dependent) must have received Form 1098-T from an eligible educational institution (whether domestic or foreign) in order to be eligible to claim the LLC. This form is typically provided to students by their school by January 31.

The IRS has an interactive app that can help you determine if you are eligible for education credits and deductions: Am I Eligible to Claim an Education Credit?

Who can claim the LLC?

You must be eligible for all three in order to claim the LLC:

  • Higher education-related eligible education expenses are paid by you, a dependent of yours, or a third party.

  • The cost of an eligible student attending an eligible educational institution is covered by you, your dependent, or a third party.

  • You, your spouse, or a dependent you reported on your tax return are the qualifying student.

See “Who Cannot Claim an Education Credit” at Education Credits – AOTC and LLC.

Who is an eligible student for the LLC?

The student must be all the following:

  • Be enrolled or taking classes at an eligible educational institution.

  • Be enrolled in higher education classes in order to get a degree or another type of credential or to acquire or develop job skills.

  • Be enrolled for at least one academic period beginning in the tax year.

Who cannot claim an education credit?

You cannot claim an education credit when any of the following are true:

Examples of Typical Qualifying Expenses

The following are qualifying education expenses:

  • Tuition

  • School fees and other related expenses

  • Activity fees required by the institution for enrollment

To learn more about the differences between the AOTC and LLC, click here.

Additional Resources:

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