Tax Incentives for Education

General Information

The tax code provides a variety of tax incentives for families who are saving for, or already paying, higher education costs or are repaying student loans. Information on the various tax credits available can be found in IRS Publication 970. The most current version of the form can be found at the IRS website Tax Benefits for Education Information Center.

Qualified Educational Expenses

For tax purposes, qualified education expenses are academically related fees paid to attend your campus and include only out of pocket expenses. Qualified education expenses for tax year 2014 are tuition, all mandatory student fees, and all course fees and lab fees. Charges related to room, board, activity fees, books, equipment, insurance or other personal living expenses are not allowed when claiming education credits. The University of Colorado reports these amounts to students each year on the 1098T form.  Funds paid from a qualified 529 plan may have additional qualified expenses that are eligible. Check IRS Publication 970 for more information.


The University of Colorado is not qualified to provide legal and/or tax advice. The information provided may or may not reflect recent revisions in IRS regulations. For tax advice on your specific situation, contact a tax professional. For additional information regarding the education tax credits you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. You can also refer to Form 8863, Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits) for more information regarding how to calculate and claim the education tax credit and the loan interest deduction.