The bright spot of the dreary 2009 economy: savings for everyone.
New for 2009 and 2010, the American Opportunity Tax Credit "will typically be the most generous of the education credits," says John Roth, a senior analyst with CCH. With it, you can claim $2,500 per student per year for the first four years of college.
Still on the books are the Hope Credit, which provides $1,800 per student for the first two years of college, and the Lifetime Learning Credit, which offers up to $2,000 per return. But you can't take more than one of them in any given year for any one student. So most people should go with the more valuable AOTC, which also has higher income caps.
Full credit up to $160,000
Partial credit up to $180,000
Potential savings: $2,500 per student
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Last updated March 26 2010: 7:15 PM ET
Savings assumed a couple filing jointly in the 28% bracket, unless otherwise noted.