By COURTNEY McKINNON
If passed during the 1997-98 session of Congress, the bipartisan balanced budget agreement will offer tax credits for higher education.
“Perhaps most important, this budget meets my goal of making education America’s No. 1 priority. It will have the largest increase in education funding in 30 years. I am very, very pleased that it will also include in a tax cut per person aid to help people go on to college, and to finance college education,” President Clinton said in a press release Friday.
The President defines the tax cut as a $1,500 Hope Scholarship. This tax incentive would allow a credit for the amount of higher education expenses paid by the tax payer. $1,500 would be the maximum amount offered per student.
According to the Internet home page of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, there has been a 30 percent cost increase in college tuition from 1985 to 1994, but only a 1 percent increase in the median income. If passed, this tax credit will make a community college education affordable for every American.
The requirements for the tax credit are outlined in the Background Brief on the Education for the Twentieth Century Act. A student would have to be drug free, have a high school grade point average of a ‘B’ or better, and be a full-time student in order to be eligible.
In order to renew this tax credit, a student would be required to maintain that ‘B’ average for their first year of college, and remain drug free. A part-time student who meets the above requirements would qualify for a $750 tax credit.
This tax credit would only be available for the first two years of higher education.
“The education tax credits and the education tax deductions that the President talked about will be so beneficial to the middle class, they will be included in this balanced budget,” said Erskine Bowles, President Clinton’s chief of staff.
Because this is directed towards the middle class, higher income brackets will be phased out. Single-filers who earn more than $70,000 a year are ineligible, and joint-filers who earn more than $100,000 a year are also ineligible.