Braley Introduces Bill to Extend $2,500 College Tax Cut

Feb 1, 2012 Issues: Education

Unless Congress acts, American Opportunity Tax Credit will expire at the end of 2012
Washington, DC – After hosting a series of campus forums at colleges across eastern Iowa last week, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) returned to Congress today and introduced a bill to extend a $2,500 tax credit for middle class families sending children to college.  Unless Congress acts, the existing tax credit will expire at the end of 2012.
The College Tax Cut Extension Act would extend for four years the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides up to $2,500 in tax credits to offset the cost of tuition, fees, and course materials for undergraduate students at two- or four-year colleges and universities.
“In the last 10 years, the cost of tuition at Iowa’s public universities has increased by 83 percent,” Braley said.  “Our colleges and universities are avenues of economic opportunity.  If America is to compete in a global economy, we need to keep college within reach for everyone who wants to attend.
“This tax credit makes a college education more affordable for thousands of Iowa families.  Congress needs to act now to keep this tax cut from expiring so the dream of college doesn’t slip out of reach.”
Braley spent Thursday and Friday of last week hosting campus forums at colleges in eastern Iowa.  Braley visited St. Ambrose University, Coe College, the University of Northern Iowa, and Grinnell College to hear about college affordability, student debt, and employability after graduation.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit was first passed into law in 2009 and set to expire at the end of 2012 if Congress fails to act.  Braley’s bill is the first legislative effort to extend the tax credit.
Last week, Braley introduced legislation to indefinitely keep the interest rates for federally subsidized Stafford loans at 3.4 percent, their current, low rate.  Without Congressional action, college loan interest rates are set to double to 6.8 percent in July, a fact that President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address.