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ERIC Number: ED533006
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 97
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Higher Education: Improved Tax Information Could Help Families Pay for College. Report to the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate. GAO-12-560
White, James R.; Scott, George A.
US Government Accountability Office
The federal government provides billions of dollars in assistance each year to students and families through federal student aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and through tax expenditures, such as credits and deductions. GAO was asked to (1) describe the size and distribution of Title IV student aid and tax expenditures available to assist students and families with higher education expenses; (2) assess the extent to which tax filers select higher education provisions that maximize their tax benefit; (3) summarize what is known about the effect of student aid and tax expenditures on student outcomes; and (4) describe factors that contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of federal student assistance programs. GAO analyzed data from Education, IRS, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and conducted a literature review for original empirical research. GAO also developed a framework for evaluating federal assistance and validated it with recognized experts of higher education finance. GAO recommends (1) that IRS and Education work together to develop a strategy to improve information provided to tax filers who appear eligible to claim a tax provision but do not and (2) that Education sponsor and conduct evaluative research into the effects of Title IV programs and tax expenditures at improving student outcomes. Education and IRS agreed with GAO's recommendations. Education noted that while it does not have access to tax data, it will work with IRS to assist in taxpayer outreach. Appended are: (1) Objectives, Scope, and Methodology; (2) Descriptions of Title IV Programs and Higher Education-Related Tax Expenditures; (3) Text to Accompany Interactive Figures 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8; (4) Comments from the Department of Education; (5) Comments from the Internal Revenue Service; and (6) GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments. A bibliography is included. (Contains 14 tables, 8 figures and 62 footnotes.)
US Government Accountability Office. 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: US Government Accountability Office
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act Title IV