American Opportunity Tax Credit

Along with the harsh realities facing today’s college students, there is an opportunity. The American Opportunity Tax Credit was created to help us get through the most expensive part of our lives. President Obama proposed this Tax Credit, which was meant to take the place of the “Hope Credit.” The Hope Credit offered an $1,800 tax credit for each semester to college students living in homes with an annual income below $50,000 per year, or less than $100,000 for married families who file their taxes together. This credit was fairly limited, however, only being available to students in their first two years of undergraduate school, and only covering money spent on tuition and books required by the school. The Hope Credit did give hope to those it helped, but it just wasn’t enough for students facing huge student loan debts.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit was created as an extended version of the Hope credit, going quite a bit further to help struggling students. The American Opportunity Tax Credit raises the maximum credit available to $2,500, for four years of undergraduate school. It was intended to cover the years 2009-2010, which was extended to 2011-2012 with a possibility of an extension beyond 2012 if congress chooses.  It was also extended to cover course materials, like lab supplies and required software whereas the Hope credit only covered tuition and books. The American Opportunity Tax Credit goes even further than that, allowing students to receive the maximum tax credit of $2,500 if they live in a household with an income below $80,000, or married, jointly filed households bringing in $160,000 per year.

So the question is: How can I apply for it? You will need to fill out a 8863 form through the IRS website. Those who need additional instructions on filling out this paperwork can get that here. The 8863 form should be sent in along with your 1040 Tax return form. Remember, taxes are due on April 17, 2012. Make sure to have everything in by that date and you should be on your way to getting help with the costs of school.


For further information regarding the American Opportunity Tax Credit, check out President Barack Obama’s website, or the IRS website.


Are You Using iTunes U?

What I love most about iTunes U is that everyone can benefit from it, it’s  free, and the sheer amount of information is astounding.  Not just any information though, info produced by professors at top Universities like Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, and UC Berkeley make their lectures available on-line.  Students have a staggering amount of courses to take but limited resources in time and $$$ to learn everything they want or need to know.  Every year, classes are given that take you to Greece for an archeological dig, or out to the Mariana Trench to do research, but the truth is those classes cost more and fill up quickly.  This is exactly the kind of thing you will find on iTunes U, and why thinks it’s a great resource for college kids.  Recommend it to your parents, too if you get tired of hearing the phrase “if only I could go back to school…”

eCampus doesn’t have any affiliation with iTunes (um, if you want to partner Apple, we’d be down, wink wink), we just think it’s a great resource that’s been underused, and anything that helps college students, we’ll pass along to you.  I could totally see finding my next essay topic or discovering a major through this site!

It’s super easy to use: it’s available through the iTunes store with the familiar interface anyone who has bought songs from iTunes is familiar with.


The course downloads in a new tab in the bar where your music, podcasts and playlists are.  Once downloaded it can be played as much as you’d like, free of charge.  These screenshots fall more under the ‘interesting’ category but keep in mind that if you missed a MAT 104 lecture, those types of classes are available as well.  That’s where I forsee listening to the podcast multiple times will come in handy.


That’s really all you need to know to use iTunes U, the rest is up to you to find something you’re interested in.  We bet it won’t take long!

Thanks for reading,



I’m reading Looking Out, Looking In

Surviving College 101

ATTENTION ALL STUDENTS: came up with a guide for surviving college! Surviving College 101: A student’s guide to college life is a guide for new and current college students. It has helpful tips and hints to your best college experience! It has helpful articles on the freshman 15, getting the most out of your education, familiarizing yourself in a new place, stress, and the college budget.

You can check it out here: The College Survival Guide

Mood Music

It’s 8:20am and you are scrambling to get into the office. Since you were supposed to be in 20 minutes ago, you are not exactly happy about the unbelievable amount of traffic or the fact that there is only morning talk radio on in the car. You finally make it to your desk and all you want is to listen to that one song that will freshly restart your whole day. You go to PandoraRadio and click on your favorite relaxing playlist, Dave Matthews. Then, out of no where when you’re getting into this calming playlist, Nickleback is somehow thrown into the mix and your whole mood begins to drop yet again. Can you not just get a great free playlist that fits your mood? Everyone has been at this point. Sometimes you just need some music that fits your mood; good or bad. These are some FREE websites I have found that focus on whatever your mood, and let you skip the song if you’re not feeling it!


This website lets you choose from a range music based on whatever your mood at that time. From energetic to “asleep on my feet” to Sunday morning to let’s party. Whatever your distinct mood, stereomood can provide.


If you’re having a day where your mood is unexplainable but you want to listen to a certain type of music, then try this site! The page offers every genre of music imaginable to choose from and then lets you choose from thousands of playlists other users have designed around that type of music.


This is a great mix of the two previous websites. You are able to check off which genres you enjoy, then choose your mood on a balance scale between energetic, calm, dark, and positive.

I love all these websites and they really help me get through a work day, or get me excited to go out for the night. Tell us what you think.


Kelsey the Intern

I’m reading Psychology

Book in the Spotlight

Unblocking your Rubber Room

I thought that it would be a great idea to start highlighting books that our visitors have been fortunate enough to have gotten published. Today’s (and the first ever) book in the spotlight comes from professor Perry Binder who describes his work as an “offbeat, funny book for all students”; Check it out!

For more great deals on new and used books and textbooks, keep going to eCampus!