Rep. Fattah, Architect of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Says It's Been Good for Pennsylvania Families

Oct 14, 2010, 15:46 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

Critical to Rebuilding the American Economy

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) announced that an estimated 335,000 Pennsylvania families have taken advantage of the improved American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) for college in 2009, reducing their taxes by an average of $2,059, according to a recently released Treasury Department analysis. 

In terms of a total dollar figure, the AOTC tax incentives for higher education nearly doubled in 2009 with 12.5 million students and their families having received a tax incentive for higher education.  More than two-thirds of those students received a larger tax benefit and 4.5 million low-income students and their families received the full tax benefit of this higher education tax credit that was previously unavailable.

Congressman Fattah is the architect of the AOTC legislation, which expanded and strengthened what was formerly known as the Hope Scholarship tax credit.  The AOTC was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, increasing the tax credit from $1,800 to $2,500.

"Sending our children to college is crucial to rebuilding the American economy and fulfilling the American Dream," said Congressman Fattah. "The improvement in the tax cut for college is one of the many significant steps this Congress is taking to make college affordable for middle-income families. Congress has also lowered interest rates on federal student loans, doubled Pell Grants for college, invested in community colleges and made it easier to apply for federal student aid. 

"These efforts are critical at a time when most of the new jobs being created will require some higher education, when the unemployment rate for people who've never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have gone to college, and when countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow," said Fattah.

"I am committed to doing more to open the door to college and expand economic opportunities for middle class Americans."

The President's fiscal year 2011 budget proposes to make the AOTC permanent. Under the budget plan students could receive a credit up to $10,000 over the course of their four year education.

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah