Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Washington UPDATE: Report Wary of Tax Proposal's Impact on Low-Income Students

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Washington UPDATE: Report Wary of Tax Proposal's Impact on Low-Income Students

Article excerpt

Washington UPDATE: Report Wary of Tax Proposal's Impact on Low-Income. Students

A new report from The Education Resources Institute (TERI) and the Institute for Higher Education Policy expressed skepticism that the president's tax incentives would help low-income youth attend college.

Tax incentives generally favor middle- and upper-income students, said the report, which urged that significant attention should be given to traditional aid such as Pell Grants for low-income students.

"Tax incentives alone will not get the job done," said Ted Freeman, TERI's president. "We need a balanced approach of student aid and tax policies to meet this challenge."

Low-income families have less tax liability, making it difficult for them to take advantage of education programs in the tax code, the report said. For example, families earning less than $30,000 a year account for just 9 percent of those who itemize their tax returns, a necessity if families take advantage of the deductions. By comparison, families with incomes of $30,000 to $100,000 a year represent 71 percent of those who itemize.

College-going rates for low-income students already are 30 percent below rates for high-income students, researchers said. While tax proposals may help cut costs, "Will these policies extend educational opportunity to those now outside of the system or will they largely reward those who already have access?" the report asked.

Existing federal tax credits for education also are under-utilized, according to the researchers. …

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