National Post-Election Poll Finds Broad-Based Support For Retaining American Opportunity Tax Credit

Nov 20, 2012, 12:02 ET from National Association of College Stores

OBERLIN, Ohio, Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An overwhelming majority of Americans support extending an important tax credit that makes higher education more affordable for millions of their fellow citizens – support that crosses gender, racial, and political lines, according to a recent national poll of people who voted in the 2012 presidential election.


Fully 82% of those surveyed indicated they were either "very" (47%) or "somewhat" (35%) favorable toward extending the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). A similar majority (76%) indicated they were either very (41%) or somewhat favorable (35%) toward including textbooks and required course-related materials as eligible expenses in higher education tax credits.

Of those in favor of extending the AOTC, 90% identified themselves as Democrats, 70% Republicans, and 82% Independents. Of those favoring some type of tax credit for textbooks and course materials, 85% were Democrats, 67% were Republicans, and 76% were Independents.

This infographic details the AOTC's bipartisan support:

The AOTC, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 replaced the archaic Hope Tax Credit. The AOTC enables 11 million middle- and lower-income families with college expenses to receive an annual tax credit of up to $2,500 per student for the first four years of college. It is the first federal tax credit to fully cover required textbooks and other required course-related supplies for college education as an eligible expense, but it is set to expire at the end of this year unless Congress extends the popular tax credit.

According to an analysis by the Americans for Tax Reform, letting the American Opportunity Tax Credit expire will deny up to $5,000 in actual tax relief for eight million taxpayers.

Richard Hershman, vice president of government relations for the National Association of College Stores (NACS), notes that a two-year extension of the AOTC will allow the time needed for Congress to carefully craft and pass bipartisan legislation streamlining and simplifying the higher education provisions of the tax code, including the AOTC, without needlessly raising taxes on middle-income families in the interim. These reforms are long overdue.

NACS and its members support efforts to enhance affordable and equitable access to quality course materials, and has long been an advocate for including academically required course materials in tax credits and the elimination of state sales taxes on course materials. The association created an IRS-vetted web site,, to help explain how families may responsibly apply for the credit.

Voters surveyed were about evenly split between those who indicated they had voted for President Barack Obama (51%) and Mitt Romney (48%).

Editors Note: The poll, by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a global research-based consultancy, was conducted online Nov. 9-10 among 1,202 Americans who voted in the 2012 presidential election. The margin of error is +/- 2.83% at the 95% confidence level and larger for subgroups.

About NACS
Headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, NACS is the professional trade association representing the collegiate, elementary, and secondary retailing community. It represent more than 3,100 collegiate and K-12 retail stores, and approximately 1,000 associate members who supply books, technology, clothing, and other products to college stores. College and K-12 stores directly employ 150,000 people, of which approximately 30,000 are students. Go to

SOURCE National Association of College Stores