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Tax Preferences For Higher Education And Adult College Enrollment

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  • LaLumia, Sara

Abstract

The federal government delivers substantial college aid through the tax code. The designs of the Lifetime Learning tax credit and the tuition deduction may make them particularly useful to older students. This paper investigates how these provisions affect college attendance of individuals in their 30s and 40s. Using panel data and fixed effects instrumental variable estimation, I find no effect on adult college attendance or degree completion. There is a positive effect on college attendance among a subsample, those whose 1998 educational attainment fell short of earlier expectations. Overall, these results suggest that tax-based aid subsidizes inframarginal college attendance among adults.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

Volume (Year): 65 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 59-89

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Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:65:y:2012:i:1:p:59-89

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  1. Duane E. Leigh & Andrew M. Gill, 1997. "Labor Market Returns to Community Colleges: Evidence for Returning Adults," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 334-353.
  2. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2008. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20081, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  3. Audrey Light, 1995. "The Effects of Interrupted Schooling on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 472-502.
  4. John Bound & Michael Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2009. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," NBER Working Papers 15566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Neil S. Seftor & NSarah E. Turner, 2002. "Back to School: Federal Student Aid Policy and Adult College Enrollment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 336-352.
  6. Jepsen, Christopher & Montgomery, Mark, 2009. "Miles to go before I learn: The effect of travel distance on the mature person's choice of a community college," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 64-73, January.
  7. Dynarski, Susan, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Working Paper Series rwp05-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  8. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
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Cited by:
  1. Turner, Nick, 2010. "Why Don’t Taxpayers Maximize their Tax-Based Student Aid? Salience and Inertial in Program Selection," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0pb3f440, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. Bednar, Steven & Gicheva, Dora, 2013. "Tax benefits for graduate education: Incentives for whom?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 181-197.
  3. Schwerdt, Guido & Messer, Dolores & Wößmann, Ludger & Wolter, Stefan C., 2012. "The impact of an adult education voucher program: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Munich Reprints in Economics 19921, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Turner, Nicholas, 2011. "The Effect Of Tax-Based Federal Student Aid On College Enrollment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 64(3), pages 839-61, September.

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