- Days left

Want to stimulate the economy? Increase student loan tax credits

While I can appreciate the stimulus package's focus on "shovel-ready" projects and I can even understand some of the rationale behind propping up banks, I feel that the administration missed a huge opportunity to help out a large portion of our population -- people with student loans. All of new legislation regarding student loans has focused on making relatively small amounts of funding available to incoming students disregarding the huge population of 20- and 30-year-olds who are still making mortgage-sized payment to lenders like Sallie Mae.

The housing credit may be helpful to this age group but despite the benefits to owning a home in the current economy many graduates are sending more money to Sallie Mae than they can afford to commit to Fannie Mae. The government has an excellent opportunity to help out responsible borrowers without writing off any student loan debt by raising the amount of interest that can be claimed under the Student Loan Interest Deduction (IRS Publication 970, "Tax Benefits for Education.")
Currently graduates can only deduct the first $2,500 of student loan interest paid in a given year, but with the increased debt load of recent graduates many, including myself, end up with plenty more to deduct. Even if the only change would be to up the amount of tax credit a married couple could receive to $5,000 it would provide significant benefits. The additional $2,500 may not be enough for a down payment but it could help young people increase their savings or make an economy stimulating purchase like a first house.

With all the focus on how to fix student loans for students who will be in college in 2010 it seems that the administration has forgotten about the students who are already diligently paying back the cost of their education. Small steps like an increased tax credit can provide positive re-enforcement for these individuals while decreasing the default rate and negating the need for a full on student loan bailout in a few years.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Timing Your Spending

How to pay less by changing when you purchase.

View Course »

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

11 Fun Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

There are plenty of practical ways to spend your tax refund ? such as saving for major expenses, banking it as the start of an emergency fund or paying down debt. But it?s hard to resist the allure of spending some or all of your refund on something a little more fun. If that?s the road you want to go down, here are some ways suggestions.

A Tax Filing Factsheet for eBay Sellers

You can find almost anything for sale on eBay, from a piece of fine art to clippings of Justin Bieber?s hair. So it's no surprise that the IRS doesn't view all sellers alike in the online marketplace. You may not have to pay tax at all if you are essentially hosting an online garage sale, but if you run your eBay account more like a business, you should be reporting your sales to the IRS.

Tax Tips for Handymen and Odd Jobs

If you work as a handyman or do odd jobs around town for money, you are operating a business in the eyes of the IRS. Since you own your own business, you're likely a self-employed sole proprietor. This means you'll have lots of potential tax deductions to investigate.

Identity Theft: 7 Steps to Reclaiming Your Identity and Keeping it Safe

As more personal information continues to be stored online, the risk of identity theft also increases. In 2014 alone, the Bureau of Justice reported that 17.6 million U.S. residents experienced identity theft. If someone uses your personal data pretending to be you, it's a serious crime. With quick, decisive action, you can help discover the fraud, stop further damage and reclaim your identity. Here are six steps to get you on your way.