NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Tax Benefits for College Attendance

Susan Dynarski, Judith Scott-Clayton

NBER Working Paper No. 22127
Issued in March 2016
NBER Program(s):ED, PE

National efforts to promote college enrollment are increasingly delivered through tax-based assistance, including tax credits and deductions for tuition and fees, tax-advantaged college savings plans, and student loan interest deductions. This paper outlines the main tax-based student aid programs and describes their history and growth over time. We then provide an economic perspective on tax-based student aid, and an assessment of their impact on student behavior. We conclude with a discussion of what the tax system does particularly well and what it does particularly poorly in comparison to traditional Department of Education-based student aid programs, and highlight opportunities for productive reform. At a minimum, a simpler system of education tax benefits would decrease the administrative and time costs of transferring funds to households with postsecondary expenses. At best, simplification would clarify incentives and increase investments in human capital.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22127

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Page and Scott-Clayton w21781 Improving College Access in the United States: Barriers and Policy Responses
Levitt, List, and Sadoff w22107 The Effect of Performance-Based Incentives on Educational Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment
Harvey and Liu w22134 Rethinking Performance Evaluation
Bulman and Hoxby w20833 The Returns to the Federal Tax Credits for Higher Education
Wang, Merriman, and Chaloupka w22577 Relative Tax Rates, Proximity and Cigarette Tax Noncompliance: Evidence from a National Sample of Littered Cigarette Packs
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us