Without understanding a lot about taxes, I know that there are several tax credit opportunities for college students in the US (The American Opportunity tax credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, etc).

Can MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from sites such as Courera.org, EdX.org, etc be counted when considering these (or any) education tax benefits? I cannot find anything that says one way or the other, and search terms such as "mooc" turn up no results on this site.


1 Answer 1


The rule of thumb (and that is also what the IRS say in the link Chris posted in the comment) is that if the institution is eligible for FAFSA - the tuition qualifies for the credits. The quote from the IRS publication:

Eligible educational institution. An eligible educational institution is any college, university, vocational school, or other postsecondary educational institution eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. It includes virtually all accredited public, nonprofit, and proprietary (privately owned profit-making) postsecondary institutions. The educational institution should be able to tell you if it is an eligible educational institution.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the options you mentioned qualify for FAFSA (one requirement would be accreditation, which none of the MOOCs have, IIRC).

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