To be eligible for the American opportunity credit, the student must meet the basic requirements for an education credit, and answer the following questions as indicated:
- Enrolled in a program that leads to a degree, certificate or other recognized educational credential? — Yes
- Taking at least one-half of the normal full-time workload for the course of study for at least one academic period beginning during the current tax year? — Yes
- Enrolled in the current tax year as a student in the first four years of postsecondary study (generally, the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years), as of the beginning of the tax year? — Yes
- Free of any felony conviction for possessing or distributing a controlled substance? — Yes
If the student does not meet all of the conditions for the American opportunity credit, the taxpayer may be able to take the lifetime learning credit for part or all of the student's qualified expenses.