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Opportunity Maine

Please Review the Following Information Carefully

Effective January 1, 1998, taxpayers may be eligible for the Hope Scholarship, which is a nonrefundable federal income tax credit for payments of qualified tuition and related expenses. This credit is potentially available to an independent student or to a taxpayer entitled to claim the tax deduction/exemption for a dependent student.

The student must:

  • be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period in one of the first two years of postsecondary education (the equivalent of a college freshman or sophomore year) and
  • must be enrolled in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential.

Qualified expenses do not include charges and fees associated with meals, lodging, student activities, athletics, insurance, and transportation. Qualified tuition and fees are reduced by any scholarship or fellowship grant excludable from gross income, and by any tax-free education benefits received by the student during the tax year. Payments of qualified tuition and fees paid with the proceeds of a loan are eligible for this credit.

The amount of the annual tax credit is generally equal to 100 percent of the first $1,000 of qualified tuition and related expenses plus 50 percent of the next $1,000 of qualified tuition and expenses, up to a maximum of $1,500 for each eligible student in the family. Eligibility for the credit is phased out ratably for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes of $40,000 to $50,000 and $80,000 to $100,000 for individual and joint filers, respectively.

The Hope Scholarship Credit may be claimed for payments of qualified tuition and related expenses made on or after January 1, 1998, for academic periods beginning on or after January 1, 1998. This credit is not available for payments made in 1997.

The tax benefits discussed here are subject to change and will vary depending upon your specific circumstances. Since we do not offer tax advice, we urge you to contact the Internal Revenue Service and/or your tax consultant for more details.

A 1098 T form may be mailed to you, depending upon IRS rules, during the last two weeks of January.

For more information on the Hope Scholarship and the Lifetime Learning Credit, please read Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Higher Education at the following website: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1098et.pdf