If you plan carefully, you can double up on these ways to cover college costs. Thinkstock By Kimberly Lankford, Contributing Editor From Kiplinger's Personal Finance, May 2016 Can I use 529 money to pay college tuition and also claim the American Opportunity tax credit in the same year? --R.H., Paintsville, Ky.See Also: 10 Best Values in U.S. Colleges, 2016 Yes, if you plan carefully. The American Opportunity credit can be worth up to $2,500 per student for each of the first four years of college. It is calculated as 100% of the first $2,000 in eligible expenses (tuition and fees) for each student, plus 25% of the next $2,000. You can’t double-dip tax breaks—that is, claim the credit for the same expenses you paid with tax-free money from your 529 plan—so it’s best to pay at least $4,000 of tuition charges from money outside of your 529. Then you can use the 529 money tax-free for the remaining tuition and fees, plus other eligible expenses, such as room and board, books, and a computer and Internet access. Got a question? Ask Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.