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Taking online education to a new level

Oklahoma Wesleyan University estimates that it costs around $20,000 an academic year for a student to attend.

One student, however, might be able to get in for much, much less.

Owulogobw_2 Starting Feb. 4, the Bartlesville, Ok., school will auction the fall and spring semester of next academic year on eBay. The bidding starts at one penny and will end on Feb. 10.

Anyone can bid -- current students, prospective students, parents, other relatives, friends. The winning bidder doesn't even have to attend; he or she can give the semesters to someone else as a gift.

If you're interested, check out OWU's Web page with bid info and FAQ.

Finding financial aid: OWU says that more than 90 percent of its students receive some form of financial aid.

If you're a college student or have one in your house, you can get information on federal higher ed help at FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online. Be sure to note the deadlines.

Don't overlook tax-related assistance. Here's the official IRS scoop on the Hope and Lifetime Learning credits.

The Hope credit can help cover tuition and fees (but no room and board) for a student's first two years of college and is worth a maximum annual credit of $1,650. The Lifetime credit, worth $2,000 pr tax year, also can be used to qualified tuition and related expenses but is available for later school years. Both credits are phased out for higher income taxpayers.

And the Tuition and Fees deduction, finally approved in late December, can lower your adjusted gross income by up to $4,000, which should help lower your eventual tax bill.

One problem with claiming this tax break this year is where to enter it if you file paper forms. 1040s were printed before the law was reinstated, so the line for it was removed just in case Congress decided not to renew it. This story provides form fill-in guidance.

Thanks to TaxProf for the alert.


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