Are You Eligible for Any of These College-Related Federal Tax Benefits?

College students and parents deserve all the help they can get when paying for college or repaying student loans. If you're in this situation, here are three federal tax benefits that might help put a few more dollars back in your pocket.

American Opportunity Credit

The American Opportunity tax credit is worth up to $2,500 per student per year for qualified tuition and fees (not room and board) for the first four years of college. It is calculated as 100% of the first $2,000 of qualified tuition and fees plus 25% of the next $2,000 of such expenses.

There are two main eligibility restrictions: the student must be enrolled in college at least half-time, and the parents' modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) must be below a certain level. To claim a $2,500 tax credit in 2023, single filers must have a MAGI of $80,000 or less, and joint filers must have a MAGI of $160,000 or less. A partial credit is available for single filers with a MAGI between $80,000 and $90,000, and joint filers with a MAGI between $160,000 and $180,000. The same limits applied in 2022 (and would be used when completing your 2022 federal tax return).

One key advantage of the American Opportunity credit is that it can be claimed for multiple students on a single tax return in the same year, provided each student qualifies independently. For example, if Mom and Dad have twins in college and meet the credit's requirements for each child, they can claim a total credit of $5,000 ($2,500 per child).

Student Loan Debt Statistics

Outstanding U.S. student loan debt in 2022: $1.745 trillion

Loan source breakdown: 92.7% federal, 7.3% private

Number of borrowers with federal student loan debt: 42.8 million

Average federal student loan balance: $37,787

Source:, 2022

Lifetime Learning Credit

The Lifetime Learning credit is worth up to $2,000 for qualified tuition and fees for courses taken throughout one's lifetime to acquire or improve job skills. It's broader than the American Opportunity credit — students enrolled less than half-time as well as graduate students are eligible. The Lifetime Learning credit is calculated as 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified tuition and fees (room and board expenses aren't eligible).

Income eligibility limits for the Lifetime Learning credit are the same as the American Opportunity credit. In 2023, a full $2,000 tax credit is available for single filers with a MAGI of $80,000 or less, and joint filers with a MAGI of $160,000 or less. A partial credit is available for single filers with a MAGI between $80,000 and $90,000, and joint filers with a MAGI between $160,000 and $180,000. The same limits applied in 2022.

One disadvantage of the Lifetime Learning credit is that it is limited to a total of $2,000 per tax return per year, regardless of the number of students in a family who may qualify in a given year. So, in the previous example, Mom and Dad would be able to take a total Lifetime Learning credit of $2,000, not $4,000. Two other points to keep in mind: (1) the American Opportunity credit and the Lifetime Learning credit can't be taken in the same year for the same student; and (2) the expenses used to qualify for either credit can't be the same expenses used to qualify for tax-free distributions from a 529 plan or a Coverdell education savings account.

Student Loan Interest Deduction

Undergraduate and graduate borrowers can deduct up to $2,500 of interest paid on qualified federal and private student loans during the year if income limits are met. In 2023, a full $2,500 deduction is available for single filers with a MAGI of $75,000 or less, and joint filers with a MAGI of $155,000 or less; a partial deduction is available for single filers with a MAGI between $75,000 and $90,000, and joint filers with a MAGI between $155,000 and $185,000. In 2022, the income limits were slightly lower: a full deduction was available for single filers with a MAGI of $70,000 or less, and joint filers with a MAGI of $140,000 or less; a partial deduction was available for single filers with a MAGI between $70,000 and $85,000, and joint filers with a MAGI between $145,000 and $175,000. The 2022 limits would be used when completing your 2022 federal income tax return.

If you paid at least $600 in student loan interest during the year, your loan servicer should send you a Form 1098-E showing how much you paid. If you don't receive a 1098-E, you can still claim the deduction. You just need to call your loan servicer or log in to your online account to find the amount of interest you paid.

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Matthew Englade

Matt graduated in 2008 from Southeastern Louisiana with a bachelor's degree in business. He started his career in financial services, working as a staff member with Delahaye and Associates, where he eventually became a partner.

In 2022 he formed Englade Insurance and Financial Services, where his primary focus is serving his client’s best interest. “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.” 1 Peter 3:14

Matt is a resident of Central, LA and enjoys spending time with his wife, Angela, and three children. He also enjoys coaching middle school basketball and giving back to his local church.

Jacob Ashford

Jacob is currently a student at Southeastern Louisiana University and is studying in the College of Business as a Marketing Major.

Jacob pursues his career by working with Matt and Angela in their mission to spread financial sustainability with their current and future clients. He also donates his time to the Southeastern's College of Business by participating in numerous career services for the city of Hammond.

Having two younger sisters, Jacob understands the importance of protecting family values and leading a path to a secure future.

Nathan graduated from Texas A&M University Class of 2006 with a degree in Agriculture Leadership & Development. Nathan has been in public service as a firefighter since 2008. In addition he and Katherine have started, operated, purchased, and sold multiple small business’. Through his experiences; Financial Services has been a lifelong pursuit for Nathan and he is excited to be a resource for people like you, your family, and your business.

Angela Englade

Angela graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. She worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse for 14 years. She decided to continue her love for caring for others through helping people obtain financial health and wellness.

She joined Englade Insurance and Financial Services to guide Matt's clients on becoming aware of potential roadblocks and achieve financial peace of mind. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and exercising.

Along with Matthew, she volunteers many hours to local charities to give back to the community.

Eve is happily married to her best friend Rick since 2012. They enjoy recreational trips like hiking and camping, visiting the beaches in the Gulf of Mexico, and trips to Walt Disney World. They are active in their congregation, donating their time and effort to help run the Audio/Visual presentations for services. She is grateful for all God has given her and believes all the glory goes to Him.

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Matt is a board member of CALEF and is involved committed to its long-term success. The mission of CALEF is to provide police, fire and EMS personnel with the safety equipment they need to serve and protect with excellence. We provide all-day rifle protection and other safety equipment to local law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel. CALEF believes that communities are safer and stronger when local law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel are properly equipped to do their job.

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Matt and Angela are active members of the church and school communities of St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Parish. Their mission is to form students in the Catholic Faith spiritually, academically, physically, and culturally in an environment of academic excellence. St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic School is committed to providing a positive, faith-filled environment for children to learn. Our comprehensive curriculum is designed to promote academic excellence and the spiritual growth of our students, coupled with an appreciation of how service to others makes the world a better place. We strive to expand their potential to become leaders.

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