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If you, your spouse, or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption was enrolled at least half-time in the first four years of college in 2012, you may benefit from the American Opportunity credit.
The credit is for the first $2,000 of qualified expenses incurred by the student, and 25 percent of the next $2,000, so that the full credit of $2,500 applies if the student has at least $4,000 in expenses.
The American Opportunity credit is available for each student in your family who meets the qualifications:
In 2012, the expenses that count toward the credit are tuition and fees required for attendance and course-related books and materials. Generally, the expenses can be deducted in the year the class begins, if the expenses were paid during that year. However, if you prepay expenses during one year, for a course that begins in the first three months of the following year, you can count those expenses toward the credit in the year they were paid.
Eligible institutions are any accredited public, nonprofit, or for-profit post-secondary institution eligible to participate in federal student aid programs.