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Paying for Higher Education under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

By Sidney Kess, James R. Grimaldi, James A.J. Revels, and Thomas K. Lauletta
CPA Journal
October 2018 Issue

For most students, the price of higher education is steep and getting steeper. Annual increases in the cost of higher education have consistently outpaced the overall rate of inflation, and the Scholarship Workshop projects the average in-state cost of the 2018/19 academic year for a student living on campus will be over $38,000 at a public university and may top $82,000 for a private college. Costs are not limited to undergraduate school, as more and more graduates go on to postgraduate studies. In the 2015/16 school year, colleges and universities awarded 786,000 master’s degrees and 176,000 doctoral degrees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Students and their families must be proactive in finding ways to pay for higher education. This includes maximizing the myriad tax incentives that support saving for education costs and paying them on a tax-advantaged basis. At present there are more than a dozen tax incentives tied to education, as well as various other financial strategies, including scholarships, loans, and work-study programs.


Published with permission from the CPA Journal.

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