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The Future of Lower-Income Students in Higher Education: Rethinking the Pell Program and Federal Tax Incentives

78 Pages Posted: 4 May 2017  

Camilla E. Watson

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: May 3, 2017

Abstract

As the costs of higher education have soared, the value of Pell grants has declined, making it more difficult for lower-income students to obtain an education without being hopelessly mired in debt. This article traces the evolution of the Pell program and discusses the diametrically opposed proposals of Presidents Obama and Trump to reform federal funding for higher education. The article proposes an alternative plan that would require a redirection of a portion of the funds from the Pell program and a reshuffling of the current tax incentives for higher education. The advantages of this proposal are that it would provide more efficient funding for higher education because it would lower many of the barriers that lower-income students face, it would help alleviate the student debt crisis, and it would not involve an expenditure of additional federal funds.

Keywords: higher education, cost, Pell grants, financial aid, students, low income, federal tax, college, universities, tax deduction, tuition, tax credit, Hope and Lifetime Learning credits, student loans, community colleges

JEL Classification: K34, K39

Suggested Citation

Watson, Camilla E., The Future of Lower-Income Students in Higher Education: Rethinking the Pell Program and Federal Tax Incentives (May 3, 2017). University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2962549

Camilla E. Watson (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-5208 (Phone)

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