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Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

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Tax Benefits, Higher Education And Race: A Gift Tax Proposal For Direct Tuition Payments, Bridget J. Crawford, Wendy C. Gerzog Apr 2021

Tax Benefits, Higher Education And Race: A Gift Tax Proposal For Direct Tuition Payments, Bridget J. Crawford, Wendy C. Gerzog

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article combines three topics--taxes, higher education, and race--to evaluate the tax system's role in exacerbating racial inequalities. Part II frames the discussion with a brief overview of the economics of higher education: how much it costs, how much debt the average student incurs to afford it, and how that debt burden varies by race. Part III describes the major income and wealth transfer tax benefits for higher education, including I.R.C. § 2503(e)'s exclusion of direct tuition payments from gift tax. Part IV demonstrates how this gift tax exclusion disproportionately benefits white families already more likely to avail themselves …