A Single Educational Investment; A Double Return

Congressman Chaka Fattah introduces legislation to encourage public service and make college more affordable.

Washington, DC – As the 111th Congress convenes on its first day, Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) makes students and public service his number one priority. Fattah, a lifetime advocate for increasing access to affordable college education, and the architect of GEAR UP, will introduce The American Opportunity Tax Credit Act of 2009.

The legislation offers every person seeking a college education the financial opportunity to pursue one and it reflects the call from President-elect Barack Obama for Americans to expand their commitment to public service. In exchange for their investment of 100 hours of public service, students will be eligible to receive a $4,000 refundable tax credit to pay for college.

As proposed by Fattah, millions of families whose incomes are too low to qualify for existing education tax credits will benefit from the program. The credit will be available at the time tuition is due enabling students to immediately apply the benefits to their accounts. Unlike existing tax credits, this educational benefit will be targeted to students who are in the most need. 

“We have an opportunity to double our investment.  Students invest their time in America and in turn America invests its capital in its students. It’s a win, win for everyone,” Fattah said.

For millions of students cost has become a major barrier in the pursuit of their college education. As tuition costs climb and America’s economy continues its downturn, students have to choose; invest in their education or find immediate employment.  It’s a challenge that Fattah believes no student should have to confront.

“A refundable tax credit will not only expand access to higher education, it will instill in students the importance of serving their community and their nation. Above all, it will pay dividends for generations to come,” said Fattah.