The American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit may help you pay for the costs of higher education. If you pay tuition and fees for yourself, your spouse or your dependent you may qualify for these credits. Here are some facts the IRS wants you to know about these important credits: The American Opportunity Credit • The AOTC is worth up to $2,500 per eligible student. • The credit is available for the first four years of higher education at an eligible college, university or vocational school. • The credit lowers your taxes and is partially refundable.