Education Credits - High School Student Taking College Classes

Even if your student hasn’t graduated from high school, you still may be able to get an education credit for the child’s college-level classes. The student qualifies for the tuition deduction if he or she is enrolled at an eligible school. You must have paid tuition to the college and not the high school in order to claim the expenses on your return.

For the American Opportunity Credit, the student must be enrolled at least half-time in a postsecondary degree program. Your child probably isn’t an eligible student under these rules as most colleges don’t allow high school students to be enrolled in a degree program.

For the Lifetime Learning Credit, the student must be enrolled in one or more courses that are part of a degree program. This means that most AP courses and tests don’t qualify, since they aren’t actually part of a degree program.

Only one education benefit can be claimed per student. TaxAct® will do the comparison for you and select the benefit that gives you the biggest refund.

See the following tips for help determining if your high schooler is an eligible student:

  • If the school sends a Form 1098-T Tuition Statement, that means the school enrolled the student in the course/program. The student meets the "enrolled" test.
  • If you don't know whether the course qualifies, call the school and ask. For the Lifetime Learning Credit, the course must be part of a degree program. Ask the school if the course counts as credit towards a degree.

To enter education information in the TaxAct program, go to our Education Credits and Deductions - Enter, Review, Modify FAQ.

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the webpage or document at the time it is accessed.