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College Related Federal Tax Benefits

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service offers the following credits, deductions, and other tax benefits to families with individuals enrolled in, saving for, or paying off college:

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit - credits 100% of a student's first $2,000 in tuition, fees, and course materials and 25% of the next $2,000. To check eligibility go to or read more on the Internal Revenue Service Web site.
  • Hope credit - up to $2,500/yr. for first four years of college, including expenditures for course materials
  • Lifetime Learning credit - up to $2,000/yr.
  • Student loan interest deduction - up to $2,500/yr. for life of loan
  • Student loan cancellations and repayment assistance (Some loan forgiveness programs have tax-free status, so the IRS won't count the loan forgiveness award as taxable income.)
  • Tuition and fees deduction - up to $4,000/yr.
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) - can contribute up to $2,000/yr. until the age of 18
  • Qualified Tuition Programs ("529 plans") - can contribute up to the amount of qualified education expenses
  • Education Exception to Additional Tax on Early IRA Distributions - can take a distribution from your IRA before age 59 1/2 without having to pay 10% penalty if money is used for qualified education expenses
  • Education savings bond program - Qualified U.S. savings bonds can be cashed without including the interest from the bonds as taxable income if the bond is used to pay for qualified education expenses
  • Employer-provided educational assistance - Employers can exclude up to $5,250 of the educational assistance each year from the employee's taxable income

For more information about these tax benefits, review the IRS's most recent Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education at, or visit the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Web site at


Statistics for Bethel College:

  • Retention Rate is 42%
  • Percentage of students receiving aid is 38%
  • Average indebtedness for graduates is $15,205

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