Higher Education Tax Benefits: Brief Overview and Budgetary Effects

Source: Margot L. Crandall-Hollick, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R41967, February 1, 2016

….This report provides a brief overview of the higher education tax benefits that are currently available to students and their families. The report contrasts higher education tax benefits with traditional student aid, presents a brief history of higher education tax policy over the past 60 years, including recent legislative proposals to modify these tax incentives, summarizes key features of the available tax benefits, and provides JCT estimates of revenue losses resulting from individual tax provisions. The summary is contained in Table 1 and provides information on various aspects of each tax benefit including the type of benefit (credit, deduction, etc.), the annual dollar amount of the benefit, what expenses qualify for the benefit, what level of education the benefit can be claimed for, income levels at which the benefit phases out, and if the provision is temporary, when it expires. Table 2 contains estimates of the annual forgone federal revenue attributable to each provision……