San Francisco (Obama.net)- The cost of a college education in the United States of America is an area of concern for millions of Americans every year. With rising rates and education budget cuts, the affordability to attend college is shrinking for many Americans. With students and parents alike not exactly bring thrilled with taking out massive loans that with interest on average end up costing twice as much as the original amount, a better way to pay for school is needed.
Even though President Barack Obama is making moves to improve the community colleges of the United States, some students either do not want to go to them or have gotten into universities that they do not want to pass up.
That is why President Obama instituted the American Opportunity Tax Credit last year. It was part of the 2009 Recovery Act. It extended the Hope Credit to the wealthy and the poor of the United States.
The tax credits helped pay for the college educations of over twelve million Americans this past school year. For households with an annual income of up to $80,000 are eligible for as much as $2,500 per year. In the 2009-2010 school year, the average tax credit given out was $1,700, which is a relief to many as even for in state public schools the annual cost of college is nearing $30,000.
The tax credit covers costs such as books and technological equipment like computers. And while the Hope Credit was only for the first two years of colleges, the new American Opportunity Tax Credit is good for four years and is even refundable.
But the tax credit is set to expire this year. President Obama is hoping to not only extend the program, but also make it permanent. To do so would cost approximately $58 billion for the next decade.
The credit makes it easier for parents to send their children to school, knowing that paying off the debt that they will face is not going to be as difficult. With college expenses rising, unemployment still high, and the economy still in the recovery process, this bit of help to American families was more than welcome in 2009 and 2010.
Now, hopefully there will be no opposition by Republicans in Congress standing in the way of the bill passing. Of all things, bipartisan support is highly hoped for on this bill as it has already helped 12 million students in its first year of operation.