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SIGNIFICANT tax break for college costs

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Officials urged Oklahomans on Thursday to take advantage of a new tax break for college savings.

A bill signed by Gov. Frank Keating last week allows a state income tax deduction of $2,500 per beneficiary in the Oklahoma College Savings Plan beginning in 2002.

State Treasurer Robert Butkin said anyone saving for a child's education, not just parents, can receive the deduction.

Hans Brisch, higher education chancellor, said the deduction should be a boon to Oklahoma's college savings plan, which was established in April 2000 and has assets of more than $5.5 million.

``It's paramount for the economic future of Oklahoma that we meet or exceed the national average of college graduates by 2010, and this new tax incentive will no doubt help us achieve that goal,'' Brisch said.

Authors of the bill are Rep. Debbie Blackburn, D-Oklahoma City, and Sen. Brad Henry, D-Shawnee.

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