The Distributional Consequences of Federal Assistance for Higher Education

Brief

The Distributional Consequences of Federal Assistance for Higher Education

The Intersection of Tax and Spending Programs

Abstract

For nearly a decade, federal higher education subsidies have increasingly been delivered through the tax code rather than through direct spending programs such as grants, loan subsidies, and work study. This paper reviews the results of using new modules in the TRIM and Tax Policy Center microsimulation models to estimate the distributional impacts and expenditure and revenue effects of major federal higher education tax and spending policies. In addition, the paper reports estimates of the effects of some prototypical policy changes in the Pell Grant program as well as in the Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits.

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