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College tax credit money out there but unclaimed

"All you have to do is file a form with the IRS," said Schumer. SUNY Plattsburgh president Dr. John C. Ettling and Clinton Community College president John E. Jablonski each said they will be doing their part to spread the word through their respective public relations departments using e-mails and other means.

Getting the message out is important, said Ettling, who remarked he was "flabbergasted" such a high percentage doesn't claim the tax credit and ends up graduating college with debtloads in excess of $30,000.

"This is an opportunity that certainly will help mitigate that or offset it a little bit," said Ettling.

Jablonski agreed, adding Schumer's message will most likely benefit parents and students who prepare their own tax returns versus those who have them filed by qualified professionals.

"Most families, I hope, that have their taxes professionally prepared probably are catching this ... It's ones that prepare their own taxes that might have missed this," said Jablonski, who applauded Schumer's announcement. "It's a great opportunity and a great time of year to get this message out."

Mayor Donald M. Kasprzak - whose oldest son is a recent SUNY Potsdam graduate and youngest is a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh - said the announcement was of particular interest to him.

"Quite frankly, I just got educated on something that I did not know," said Kasprzak, who added he'd be looking into the tax credit for his family as well. "This is good news for not only SUNY students but also for the North Country."

Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, who supported and voted for the law to establish the credit, agreed, adding he felt the funding has the potential to help many students.

"This kind of information, this kind of legislation, is very important because, as we all know, the building blocks of a strong economy are very focused on education," said Owens.

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