Friday, May 7, 2010

Shelter Class Qualifies for Education Tax Benefits

If you've recently filed your 2009 tax return, you might be thinking about how to offset some of your tax burden for 2010. One way is to take advantage of tax credits or deductions for tuition and fees paid for courses taken at accredited educational institutions.

The Design Build class, which is being offered this summer from August 2nd to 13th at Shelter, is accredited through the University of Southern Maine and would qualify for some tax benefits. For example, the Lifetime Learning Credit provides a credit for 20% of your tuition and fees (40% for students coming from Midwestern disaster areas). More information about tax benefits for education expenses can be found on this IRS web page or from

Keep in mind that some states provide similar deductions or tax credits, which would add to your savings. Many states are also offering tuition grants for changing careers or acquiring additional job skills. The Purely Post & Beam Class is recognized as job training by the Veterans Administration, Americorp, and many employers. You might even have a program at work that covers tuition expenses. Check with your employer, state employment agency, or state revenue office to see if you might qualify.

Parents and guardians can also claim education credits or deductions for their dependent children. If your teenager is an aspiring architect or carpenter, the Design Build course is an excellent opportunity for the kind of hands-on experience that might shape their college or career aspirations.

In the two-week Design Build course, students learn to build a house from the ground up (see syllabus). Shelter Institute's housebuilding class has inspired thousands to build their own home—you can too! You will come away with an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a modern house as well as the Shelter Institute notebook and your own class notes.

During the Purely Post and Beam class, days are spent on-site designing, cutting, and raising a post and beam frame. Students learn to select, use, and care for a complete set of timber framing tools. In five short days the class will turn fresh lumber into a carefully crafted 24x24 frame and leave knowing how to design and build your own.

For over 30 years, the Hennin Family has refined and perfected the art of teaching house construction to owner-builders from all walks of life. Join us this summer on the beautiful Maine coast for an opportunity to think deeply about how we build and live.

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