Since 1997, education tax benefits have become an increasingly important component of federal higher education policy. Fourteen tax benefits are currently available for college students and their parents to help pay for higher education. The available tax benefits are a mixture of credits, deductions, exclusions, and other incentives. The benefits can be placed into one of three general categories: incentives for current year expenses, preferential tax treatment of student loans, and incentives for saving for college. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates the cost to the federal government of education tax benefits—the revenue foregone from offering these benefits—to be $165 billion between 2015 and 2019.

R41967