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Tax Credits for Higher Education

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 encourages postsecondary and continuing education by providing tax benefits to students and their families. Taxpayers can claim one, or in some cases, two of these new tax credits for expenses they pay for postsecondary education for themselves and their dependent children. These tax credits can directly reduce the amount of federal income tax for returns filed.

The Hope Scholarship Credit is available on a per-student basis for the first two years of postsecondary education. The maximum credit is $1,500 per student. It will be offered to students or parents who pay tuition and related expenses for attendance at least half-time in a degree-granting program.

The Lifetime Learning Credit provides a tax credit to parents and/or students of up to $2,000 of total annual educational expenses, per return.

Education expenses that are paid with tax-free grants, scholarships, are not eligible for either tax credit. Education expenses paid with loans are eligible for these tax credits. Interest paid on qualified student loans may also be deductible from taxpayer income. Interest can be taken as a deduction during the first 60 months (5 years) of repayment on student loan.

To assist you in taking advantage of these tax credits, the University will provide you with the following information:

  • Form 1098T (Tuition Payments Statement) - This form must be submitted along with your federal tax return to claim these credits.
  • Form W-9S (Request for Student's or Borrower's Social Security Number and Certification). This form should be completed and returned to the University, if your social security number is incorrect.
  • Telephone inquiries at (562)985-8280
  • Online at
  • In-person inquiries at Brotman Hall 155
  • IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education

Either your lender or loan servicer will provide interest deduction information to you. Those eligible will be provided with a 1098E form, which must be submitted along with your federal tax return to claim this deduction.

NOTE: The information described above, and the information available via mysculb or phone regarding the new tax benefits, is in general terms . Your ability to claim these tax benefits depends on your individual circumstances. We recommend that you consult a tax advisor to determine your personal eligibility.

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