Educational Opportunity Tax Credit

The credit for educational opportunity provides an income tax credit for Maine resident taxpayers who are qualifying graduates (and employers of qualifying graduates) and who make eligible education loan payments on loans obtained to earn:

  • An associate or bachelor's degree from an accredited Maine college or university after 2007 and before 2016; or
  • An associate or bachelor's degree from an accredited Maine or non-Maine college or university after 2015; or,
  • A graduate degree from an accredited Maine college or university after 2015.

Eligible graduates must live, work, and pay taxes in Maine.

The credit is limited to tax except that for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, the credit allowed to a program participant is refundable if the program participant obtains an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM degree). Unused portions of the nonrefundable credit may be carried forward for up to 10 years.

Certain limitations apply.

An employer of a qualifying graduate may also qualify for the credit on eligible education loan payments made during the term of the qualified employee’s employment.

For more information, see the links below:

Worksheets for claiming the educational opportunity income tax credit

Statutory References/Rules

STEM Degrees - Definition applicable to degrees awarded on or after January 1, 2020

For degrees awarded on or after January 1, 2020, a STEM degree means a degree in a program of study classified under one of the following Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES):

  1. CIP codes listed on the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement STEM Designated Degree Program List as of the year in which the degree was awarded;
  2. Dental Hygiene/Hygienist (CIP code 51.0602);
  3. Kinesiology and Exercise Science (CIP code 31.0505);
  4. Marine Science/Merchant Marine Officer (CIP code 49.0309);
  5. Occupational Therapy/Therapist (CIP code 51.2306)
  6. Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing (CIP codes 51.3801 through 51.3899); and
  7. Secondary Education and Teaching: STEM Concentrations (CIP code 13.1205 with a concentration in a field that would qualify as a STEM degree under subsections A through F if the degree were earned in that field directly).

For more information, see Rule 812, Section .04.

STEM Degrees - Definition applicable to degrees awarded prior to January 1, 2020

A degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics ("STEM") means an associate or bachelor's degree with a major (or if no major is awarded, an equivalent concentration) as recognized by the participant's accredited community college, college or university limited to the following courses of study:

  1. Animal, food or plant science, archeology, biology, chemistry, computer and information sciences, environmental science, physics/physical, earth or marine sciences or registered nursing/nursing sciences;
  2. Aeronautical engineering, architectural engineering technology, biotechnology, clinical or medical technologies, communications technology, computer technology, construction engineering technology, drafting and design technology, electrical engineering technology, electromechanical engineering technology, science technology or telecommunications technology;
  3. Chemical, civil, construction, electrical, forest, industrial, mechanical, naval or surveying engineering; or
  4. Economics, mathematics or statistics.

For more information, see Rule 812, Section .03.