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News Journal: Biden Touts College Plan

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Location: Washington, DC


News Journal: Biden Touts College Plan

By NICOLE GAUDIANO

The federal government would cover the tab for two years of public college for students from low-income to middle-class families under legislation Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., unveiled today.

Biden's College ACCESS Act of 2007 would consolidate two existing tax credits -- the Hope Scholarship Credit and the tuition and fees deduction -- and replace them with one $3,000 refundable tax credit, according to his office.

The credit would fully cover the average $2,300 cost of tuition at a public two-year college and pay for half of the average $5,800 cost of tuition at a public four-year college for families making up to $166,000 per year.

"When I first ran for office in 1972 I campaigned on making college affordable for middle-class families by making tuition tax deductible," Biden said in a statement. "The tax incentives we have today to help parent pay for college are simply not enough."

Appearing as a presidential candidate, Biden detailed his college-affordability plan in a closed-forum meeting with the American Federation of Teachers executive council in Maryland.

He will discuss the details publicly during a town hall meeting in Opa Locka, Fla., on Wednesday for the AFL-CIO's Working Families Vote 2008 campaign.

Biden's office said the Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated the five-year cost of the College ACCESS Tax Credit at $24.1 billion.

The cost of increasing the maximum Pell Grant from $4,310 to $5,100 for 2007-2008 would be $3.2 billion. The five-year cost to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $6,300 would be $35 billion.


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