Craig education briefs for March 21, 2015: College tax credits available for 2014 tax year |

Craig education briefs for March 21, 2015: College tax credits available for 2014 tax year

Craig Daily Press Staff Report

— Two college tax credits and several other education-related tax benefits are available to qualifying students and their parents when they file 2014 federal income tax returns, according to a news release from the Internal Revenue Service. The American opportunity tax credit provides an annual credit of up to $2,500 for each eligible student for up to four tax years. Alternatively, the lifetime learning credit provides a credit of 20 percent of the amount spent on eligible expenses across all students on the return, for a maximum $2,000 credit per tax return.

Though a taxpayer often qualifies for both of these credits, he or she can only claim one of them for a particular student in a particular year. These credits can be claimed on Form 8863.

Most students will receive a Form 1098-T from their institution by the end of January with information about tuition paid or billed for the prior tax year. However, amounts shown on this form may differ from amounts taxpayers are eligible to claim for these tax credits. Taxpayers should see the instructions on Form 8863 and Publication 970 for details on properly figuring allowable tax benefits.

For those eligible, including most undergraduate students, the American opportunity tax credit will generally yield the greater tax savings. Alternatively, the lifetime learning credit should be considered by part-time students and those attending graduate school.

Income limits and other restrictions apply.

You can use the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant tool to help determine if you are eligible for these benefits. The tool is available on Details can also be found in the Tax Benefits for Education Information Center on

Other education-related tax benefits include zero taxes on scholarships and fellowship grants when funds are used to pay for tuition and fees, student loan interest deductions of up to $2,500 per year, zero taxes on savings bonds used to pay for college within certain income limits, and qualified tuition programs — also called 529 plans—used to prepay or save for a child’s college education.

CNCC offers paleontology field works courses

The following is excerpted from a news release from CNCC:

CNCC will be offering paleontology field experiences beginning in the summer of 2015. Each field experience session will be two weeks long and can be taken for college credit. During this time, students will be staying on the CNCC Rangely campus and traveling daily to the dig site where they will work alongside professional paleontologists from around the country to excavate dinosaur remains.

“We are right in the middle of Dinosaur Country, and it’s mostly unexplored in our area,” said Molecular Paleontologist and CNCC science instructor, Liz Johnson. “We want to offer that exploration and discovery opportunity to our students and our local community members in an educational setting.”

The two fieldwork sessions are scheduled from June 8 – June 19 and June 22 – July 3. Students will work excavating a dinosaur found by CNCC faculty Ellis Thompson-Ellis and her husband Josh Ellis.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for our students and our communities to experience and learn about the richness of our local lands,” Thompson-Ellis said. “It’s also an opportunity to be a part of a unique scientific expedition — no experience necessary!”

At the conclusion of the field experience, the fossils will be transported to the new federal fossil repository at the CNCC Craig Campus. There, they will be curated and prepared in the 2015-2016 academic year by students enrolled in the paleontology lab techniques course as the second piece of CNCC’s unique paleontology experience.

Moffat County High School seeks receipts for fundraiser

Local residents can help with the issue of school funding as Moffat County High School raises money in the weeks to come.

MCHS is participating in the AmeriGas School Days Program, and people can bring in their receipts from propane to join in the effort. For every gallon of gas accounted for, the company will donate two cents to the school in question.

The tally adds up fast, and last May, AmeriGas awarded nearly $2,000 to MCHS.

Receipts can be turned in at the school to Stephanie Ahlstrom, athletics secretary.

For more information, call 970-824-7036 or 970-824-4221.

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