A $4,000 tax deduction for college tuition is available to students in 2011. Students may also deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages in their tax return this year.

$4,000 tax break for students

A $4,000 tax deduction for college tuition is available to students in 2011. Students may also deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages in their tax return this year.

The amount of the tax deduction students receive relative to their amount of dependents varies, as $4000 is the maximum no matter how many students are listed under a single address, the Wall Street Journal, reported.

Students may be unaware of the potential $4,000 tax deduction for tuition in 2011, Andrew Boydston commented, “I haven’t heard about it but I would use it as a write off if possible.

“Anything that can make life easier on my family financially is a blessing right now. I actually feel like it’s a well-deserved thing with how much tuition has risen since I first got here in the fall of 2006,” Boydston said.

If a student is claimed as a dependent on their parent’s tax return, they are not eligible to personally receive the deduction. However, their parents might be able to claim the tax credit stated the website.

The amount of deduction one receives also depends upon their income according to the Wall Street Journal. If one’s adjusted gross income is above $65,000 per year or if one files a joint tax return with an adjusted gross income above $130,000 per year, they are not eligible for the full tax break.

Fresno State Economics Professor Sean Alley shared other ways students can reduce fees through their tax returns.

“The biggest tax deduction in the tax code is that if you own a house, you can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage,” Alley said. “Any students that own a house should be able to take advantage of that, it could be sizable.

“If you are a full-time student and are not part of your parent’s household, and you make less than a certain amount of money, you can qualify for Murphy income tax credits,” Alley added.

“This tax credit pays back any taxes you paid and writes you a check if there is any left over,” Alley said.

“This is not a deduction, because it is an actual payment back to the taxpayer. A student must have earned income to claim this, but not a substantial amount. This is for low-income working people, so if you’re a student with a job you might be able to claim an earned income tax credit and get a couple thousand dollars back that way,” Alley added.

Alley also offered insight on how the CSU is funded.

“All taxpayers pay into the system which funds our institution. Taxes are collected into a general fund and paid out to everything the government supports, and a big chunk of that goes out to the universities.

“Taxpayers are still footing a lot of the bill for the students being here, but it doesn’t feel that way when your fees are going up every year,” Alley said.

Tuition can be hefty for similar private universities such as Fresno Pacific University, which averages about $20,000 per year in fees according to its website.

Biology major Kailie Privett commented on how she feels taxpayer funding affects her education at Fresno State compared to private universities.

“It’s not the tuition prices I have a problem with, it’s how it’s spent. Like the pool we just built,” Privett said. “The whole point of college is education so I think the money should have been used to add more classes instead.

“Also, I don’t think it is fair that administration is getting raises while our tuition goes up and classes are cut,” Privett added. “At least in a private university I would get the education I am paying for.”

  • Wayne Steffen

    Fresno Pacific University’s traditional undergraduate tuition is $24,790 for the 2011-2012 academic year (costs for bachelor’s degree completion and graduate students vary by program). But there’s more to the story: over 95 percent of these students receive financial aid. State, federal and institutional grants and scholarships are all available. Students who apply often find the aid they receive makes FPU affordable to them. See financial aid award levels and a cost calculator at experiencefpu.com/

    In addition, FPU has the highest four-year graduation rate in the region, which means our graduates get a head start on pursuing their careers. The university also offers a four-year graduation guarantee to qualified applicants—at FPU students can get the classes they need. In those classes, they will find faculty who are experts in their field and committed to their students’ professional preparation and ethical development.