Thursday, March 5, 2009

The ABCs of federal tax breaks for college education expenses

You can save as much as $2,500 per student, but how much you claim depends on your income, the student's educational status and how and when you paid the bill.

If you're paying for a college education, you may need an advanced degree to figure out how to claim federal tax breaks for those expenses.

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Zimmer leads in L.A. Unified returns

Two candidates with union support were favored, but in District 6, labor-backed Nury Martinez is locked in close race with Louis Pugliese. In District 4, labor-backed Steve Zimmer is leading Mike Stryer.

The financial backing of the teachers union made two candidates favorites to win in Tuesday's contested races for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, but early Wednesday morning one race was too close to call.

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Cash-strapped schools thinking outside budget box

With nearly 400 school buses well past the date of retirement, Georgia's largest school district decided to try a new --and cheaper -- strategy for updating its fleet. Continue reading ...

Free Digital Texts and Free Online Course Materials

It's important when the free digital textbooks and free online course materials are covered by the LA Times. The issues surrounding pricey textbooks and digital alternatives are compactly discussed in this news article. ___ JH (Thanks to the blog Free Culture News for this reference.)
"Caltech economics professor R. Preston McAfee finds it annoying that students and faculty haven't looked harder for alternatives to the exorbitant prices. McAfee wrote a well-regarded open-source economics textbook and gave it away -- online. But although the text, released in 2007, has been adopted at several prestigious colleges, including Harvard and Claremont-McKenna, it has yet to make a dent in the wider textbook market."
"McAfee is one of a band of would-be reformers who are trying to beat the high cost -- and, they say, the dumbing down -- of college textbooks by writing or promoting open-source, no-cost digital texts. Thus far, their quest has been largely quixotic, but that could be changing. Public colleges and universities in California this past year backed several initiatives to promote online course materials, and publishers and entrepreneurs are stepping up release of electronic textbooks, which typically sell at reduced prices."
"Open educational resources is an amorphous category for publishers, but basically it includes e-textbooks, courses, videos, taped lectures, tests, software and other materials released online free to the public without restriction on use."

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