I use TaxAct to prepare my tax return for year 2014. Now I am working on education/tuition part. There is a field Number of postsecondary schools attended under Student Information - Qualifications.

The value could be a value 0,1,2,3,4 in a drop down menu. Does it mean in US only? As I got my higher education in the other country, no degree in US at all.

What value should I select it? If I am enrolling one institute, then what?


3 Answers 3


It is less about what box you check in your tax software and more about what the tax software will do with that information. I argued in another answer (linked in my comment on the OP) that you are likely ineligible for the American Opportunity credit, but are eligible for Lifetime Learning Credit. To be eligible for American Opportunity credit, the following need to be true (from IRS Pub 970):

"As of the beginning of 2014, the student had not completed the first 4 years of postsecondary education (generally, the freshman through senior years of college), as determined by the eligible educational institution"


"For at least one academic period beginning (or treated as beginning) in 2014, the student both:

Was enrolled in a program that leads to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential; and

Carried at least one-half the normal full-time workload for his or her course of study."

The first one is unclear on the specifics of a foreign degree, but the intent seems clear. The latter quote I feel like is where you would definitely run into trouble claiming the credit.

Therefore, check whatever in your software makes you eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit, but not the American Opportunity credit.


I looked for help on the IRS website:

What is an Eligible Educational Institution?

An eligible educational institution is a school offering higher education beyond high school. It is any college, university, vocational school, or other post secondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program run by the U.S. Department of Education.

This includes virtually all accredited public, nonprofit and privately-owned–for-profit post secondary institutions.

If you aren’t sure if your school is an eligible educational institution:

  • Ask your school if it is an eligible educational institution, or
  • See if your school is on the U.S. Department of Education’s Accreditation database.

Some educational institutions located outside the United States also participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid programs but are not on the list. So, you may need to ask the school if they are an eligible educational institution.


Certain educational institutions outside the US participates in the U.S Dept of Education Federal students Aid (FSA). Call your school and ask if they participate in this program.

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