WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Alex Padilla (D-CA), introduced legislation today to expand the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). The AOTC allows eligible taxpayers to reduce their federal income taxes and, in certain circumstances, receive a refund, making college education more affordable for working families. The bill would double the credit, raise income limits, and make the tax credit entirely refundable to help working families and students with the increasing costs of higher education.

“Even before the pandemic, students were struggling to keep up with the rising cost of college, and not enough was being done to ensure that they have the opportunity to pursue jobs that pay well, that are fulfilling, and that lead to fulfilling careers. We must make sure that federal financial aid is designed in a way that meets the needs of students today and increases the academic and financial opportunities available to them. I’m glad to join my colleagues to support this effort,” said Brown.

The legislation would specifically:

  • Double the maximum AOTC to 100% of up to $5000 of eligible expenses to help the credit keep up with the rapidly rising cost of a college education; 
  • Makes the AOTC fully refundable so low-income Americans that need it the most can reap the full benefits of the tax credit. Under the current law, the credit is only 40% refundable;
  • Allow taxpayers convicted of low-level felony drug offenses to access the AOTC;
  • Changes the income limits to be to $125,000 single filer/$250,000 joint filer receives the full credit. The credit is completely phased out after $150,000 single filer and $300,000 for joint filers.

The bill is endorsed by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), Rutgers University, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU).

The text of the bill can be found here.