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Carbondale, IL

Tax Credit for Qualifying Students

Tax Credit for Qualifying Students
By: Arnold Wyrick

Carbondale, IL - Going to college can be costly for parents especially when they're having to pay for tuition, books, housing, and food out of their pockets. But Illinois' Governor Rod Balgojevich has a plan to put some money back in parents pockets.

He's proposing a $1,000 Tax Credit to qualifying students.

"I think that would be great because I know we're really struggling this year with all the expenses of me coming to Carbondale for college," says SIU Freshman Jacqueline Lewis.

But their are some things students must do first in order for their parents to cash in on the money.

First of all the offer will only be extended to college Freshman, and Sophomores who have maintained a 3.0 grade point average throughout high school and their first year of college.

"Any little bit would help especially since they're sending me to school and stuff. It's a nice little gesture," says SIU Freshman Joe Mirabella.

But there are also some drawbacks to the plan, as pointed out by SIU's Director of Financial Aid.

"There's a significant gap in period of time when parents would have the outlay for that cash, before they got that tax credit back into their pockets," says Billie Jo Hamilton.

And Hamilton points out there are already several state funded programs that are under funded such as the M.A.P.S. program.

"That hasn't been fully funded up the maximum level this year. We're operating at 9% below fully funded. So we'd almost like to see the programs that are already in place get fully funded before we have some additional incentives," Hamilton said.

But the Governor sees his plan as much more then just an incentive to families in Illinois.

"A thousand dollars to a family can help pay for college really goes a long way. It might be a mortgage payment for a couple of months. Or a car payment for two, three, or four months. So it's a meaningful tax credit," Governor Blagojevich said.

The Governor plans to explain how he's going to pay for this proposal, and the rest of his $3.2 billion dollar Capital Plan during his State of the Budget address in a couple of weeks in Springfield.

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