What is the Hope Scholarship (Tax Credit)?
The Hope Scholarship is actually a tax credit, not a scholarship. It aids students in their first two years of postsecondary education. Your family must file a federal tax return and owe taxes to get this tax credit. Your family cannot get a refund for the Hope credit if it does not pay taxes. A family that owes less tax than the maximum amount of the Hope tax credit for which it is eligible can only take a credit up to the amount of taxes owed.
The exact amount of the Hope credit depends on your family's income, the amount of qualified tuition and fees paid, and the amount of certain scholarships, and allowances subtracted from tuition. The total credit is also based on how many eligible dependents are in your family.
What is the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit?
The Lifetime Learning Credit is a tax credit available to individuals who file a tax return and owe taxes. The amount of the credit is subtracted from the taxes owed, rather than reducing taxable income as with a tax deduction. Individuals who do not pay taxes are not eligible for a Lifetime Learning credit. Taxpayers who owe less tax than the maximum amount of the Lifetime Learning tax credit for which they are eligible can only take a credit up to the amount of taxes owed.
A family may claim a tax credit of up to $2,000 per tax year for the taxpayer, taxpayer's spouse, or any eligible dependents for an unlimited number of tax years. The amount of the Lifetime Learning tax credit is 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified educational expenses paid for all eligible students. Therefore, the maximum amount of a Lifetime Learning tax credit is $2,000. The Lifetime Learning credit is available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills, unlike the Hope credit which is only available for two years.
The actual amount of the credit depends on a family's income, the amount of qualified tuition and fees paid, and the amount of certain scholarships and allowances subtracted from tuition. This credit is family-based (up to $2,000 per tax return or $4,000 for Gulf Opportunity Zone students) rather than based on the number of dependents in a family, as with the Hope credit.
Want to learn more about the Hope Scholarship and/or Lifetime Learning Tax Credit? Visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website.
1098-T Tuition Statement
Students will receive a 1098-T Tuition Statement via mail for use when filing their taxes. If you need to access the form electronically, please go to the Heartland ECSI 1098-T Information Page. To access the 1098-T statement online, students will need:
- School code (MCC's is "3S")
- Student's Social Security Number
- Heartland ECSI PIN (emailed to students w/ electronic consent, mailed to students w/o electronic consent). Go to the Retrieve Credential Page if you don't know your PIN.