To get unemployed Americans back to work, the federal government is providing incentives to help low- to middle- income individuals go back to school.

A $13.8 billion tuition tax credit boost called the American Opportunity Tax Credit reimburses 100 percent of the first $2,000 of educational expenses for lower income students. For the next $2,000 spent, students receive a 25 percent reimbursement. In short, qualifying, lower income students can receive $2,500 in education reimbursements per year.

The bill also features other benefits for low-income students. Families that do not earn enough to pay income taxes can receive a $1,000 education refund.

“These kinds of incentives from the government don’t come along very often,” says Marcus Varner, education analyst at, a free college information service. “If people have been thinking of going back to school, now would be the time to do it. If they are hurting financially, they may qualify for the aid they need to get a degree.”

These benefits are set to expire after the 2010-2011 school year.

Fortunately, thanks to a growing number of online education options, degree-seekers can take advantage of these benefits without leaving their jobs. Sites like help degree-seekers qualify for these benefits and enroll in online universities.

“People can learn what options are available to them,” saysVarner. “All they have to do is visit our form and fill it out. We guide them through the rest.”

Find out if you qualify for these unprecedented benefits. Visit and complete their financial aid assessment tool. An education advisor from a top school will help you determine if you qualify for these education benefits and answer your questions about degree programs and financial aid.

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