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Stimulus package provisions may help pay for college

on Tuesday,February 17,2009 22:02

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The recently passed economic stimulus bill contains billions in funding for various aspects of education, although some experts believe it may not be enough to pay for all projects.

Among the provisions of the new legislation are tax credits, Pell grant enhancement, regulatory changes to college savings plans as well as funding for education IT.

The education tax credits will offset up to $2,500 in college costs for eligible families, but some experts worry that it will not make much difference to the lowest-income households, according to US News and World Report.

More encouragingly, the minimum level of the Pell grant will now increase from $4,731 to $5,350 starting July 1 and $5,550 in 2010-11. That means that an additional 800,000 students will become eligible for the grant.

In addition to that, families will now be able to buy computers and related technology using funds from Section 529 college savings plans, a move that has been described as significant by the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN).

Nonetheless, not all education associations are happy. The Consortium for School Networking and the International Society for Technology Education are vowing to keep pressing Congress for more funding for technology-rich classrooms.

The final version of the bill has cut support for education IT by 35 percent from $1 billion to $650 million. Altogether, the package contains an estimated $32 billion for higher education.

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