Qualified Education Expenses

The various education credits available to students and those who pay for them are based on the money spent on qualified education expenses, but the definition of these expenses varies between the different credits and deductions.

For the Student Loan Interest Deduction, eligible education expenses include

  • tuition and fees
  • room and board
  • books, supplies, and equipment
  • other necessary expenses (such as transportation)


  • For the Tuition and Fees Deduction qualified education expenses include only tuition and certain related expenses required for enrollment. Expenses such as student-activity fees and course-related books, supplies, and equipment only count if enrollment is contingent on them.

    For the American Opportunity Credit, eligible education expenses include tuition and fees as well as course-related books, supplies, and equipment.

    For the Lifetime Learning Credit, eligible education expenses include tuition and fees and only books, supplies, and equipment that are a necessary condition of enrollment.