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Tax Preferences for Higher Education and Adult College Enrollment

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Abstract

The federal government delivers substantial college aid through the tax code, after introducing education tax credits in 1998 and a tuition deduction in 2002. The design of the Lifetime Learning tax credit and the tuition deduction may make them particularly useful to older students. This paper investigates how these provisions have affected college attendance of individuals in their 30s and 40s. For most adults, there is no effect on college attendance. Among men whose 1998 educational attainment falls short of earlylife educational expectations, eligibility for an education tax preference is associated with a 2.5 to 3.4 percentage point increase in the probability of college attendance.

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File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/LaLumiaEducationTaxCredits.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2010-09.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in the National Tax Journal
Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2010-09

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Keywords: college finance; education tax credits; and college enrollment;

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  1. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-57, July.
  2. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," NBER Working Papers 13527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Susan Dynarski, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," NBER Working Papers 11604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Schwerdt, Guido & Messer, Dolores & Woessmann, Ludger & Wolter, Stefan C., 2012. "The impact of an adult education voucher program: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 569-583.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bednar, Steven & Gicheva, Dora, 2013. "Tax benefits for graduate education: Incentives for whom?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 181-197.

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