Written by Marc R Barnes EA
November 01, 2009
The Lifetime Learning Credit can help offset some of the expenses of continuing your education.

Do you qualify?

Unlike the Hope Credit, which can be claimed only during the first 2 academic years, you may claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for qualifying courses at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level. Your MAGI must be $48,000 ($96,000 if Married Filing Jointly) or less to claim the full credit. You can't claim the credit if you're Married Filing Separately.

How much Lifetime Learning Credit can I claim?

Whether you attend an eligible institution on a full- or part-time basis, the credit is 20% of the first $10,000 (up to $2,000 per return) you pay for eligible students in your family. The amount of your credit is reduced if your MAGI is between $50,000 and $60,000 (between $100,000 and $120,000 if you're Married Filing Jointly). You may use the credit on a yearly basis, and it can even be applied to expenses you pay during 2009 for an academic period that begins in the first 3 months of 2010.

Lifetime Learning Credit Tips

  • The Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits can't be used for the same student.
  • You can claim a Hope Credit for each qualifying student and a Lifetime Learning Credit for a different student's qualifying expenses, but you can't claim both credits for 1 student.
Topic: College