Interim President C. Peter Magrath and Binghamton University student Santino DeAngelo watch as Sen. Charles E. Schumer discusses tuition tax credits Jan. 20 at the Admissions Office in Academic Building A.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Schumer touts college tuition tax credit
January 20, 2011Tweet
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer came to Binghamton University with advice for families asking themselves “How are we going to pay for tuition?”
The senator’s answer: A $2,500 college tuition tax credit.
“This is a huge boost to middle-class families who are trying to stretch their budgets,” said Schumer, who spoke Jan. 20, at the University’s Admissions Office, with Interim President C. Peter Magrath.
The Schumer-authored credit, signed into law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provides families with $1 back on taxes for every $1 spent on tuition, up to $2,500 a year per child in college. The credit was extended for two years as part of a tax package passed by the Senate earlier this month.
“In the past, if you made $70,000 or $80,000 a year, the attitude of the government was that you could afford it on your own,” Schumer said. “In the 1950s or 1960s that was probably true. But it’s no longer true. So it’s been my passion to help the middle class with large expenses and tuition, in particular.”
According to the U.S. Treasury, 57 percent of New Yorkers did not take advantage of the credit last year. Families in Broome County have $7.2 million in unclaimed credits, Schumer said. But families are still able to claim the credit, he said, and can even amend tax returns from the past three years.
“It’s as if there was a dump truck full of $100 bills sitting across the street,” Schumer said. “All middle-class families have to do is fill out some paperwork to get some of those dollars.
“Sometimes they say knowledge is power,” he added. “In this case, knowledge is money in the bank.”
Schumer is turning to Binghamton University to help fill the “knowledge gap” and spread the tax-credit message. Students and families will be notified about the opportunity, while financial aid orientations on campus will stress the importance of the tax credit.
“This legislation is absolutely vital to make it possible for families to have their sons and daughters attend this University and other universities,” Magrath said.
“Now that Binghamton University has stepped up to the plate, I’m urging all college presidents in the area to do the same thing,” Schumer said.
Junior Santino DeAngelo praised the tax credit, saying it has helped him attend Binghamton University.
“I cannot be here without financial aid,” he said. “I take advantage of the tax credit. So does my brother, who is a freshman at Broome Community College. Grants and loans are the things that make me able to be in front of you today.”