5 Tips for College Tax Breaks

It’s just about that time to get your college applications in, but it’s not just for the high school students. Due to the economy, many seasoned workers are going back to school in search of new careers, or to refresh their skills. Here are some tips that will save you money while paying for that expensive education once next April rolls around.

  • Student- loan interest reduction: Sometimes student loans can seem overwhelming when that first invoice shows up in your mailbox and you see that you instantly owe $30,000… plus interest. It’s true that if the principle amount is paid off quickly enough there will be no accumulated interest, but with the way the economy is, that’s not a very likely scenario. Well there are now interest reduction options that banks offer so instead of having a monthly interest rate, you can opt for a nominal $2,500 a year.
     
  • Employer Assistance Programs: If you are an employee going back to school to study the field in which you work, your employer might be able to help pay your college tuition. Taking advantage of a program like this can save you money, not just the college bill, but also taxes. If participating in employer assistance you will be tax exempt for up to $5,250.
     
  • 529 college savings plan: Much like a 401k, the 529 plan helps families set aside money for future college costs whether for self or a beneficiary. The money put into a 529 account can be invested in stocks, bonds and money market funds and the best thing about it is any earnings that are made in the account cannot be taxed. When the time comes, this money can be used for tuition, books, computers, or any other expenses that are attributed with college. The plans vary from state to state so check with a local bank.
     
  • Work Related Education Deductions: According to publication 970 of the IRS, if you qualify for Work Related Education, most school expenses can be written off as business expenses. Just by talking with your employer, books, tuition, some traveling expenses and other supplies can be reimbursed and/or written off.
     
  • Scholarships and grants: Scholarships are the most common way of paying off education expenses so apply for as many as you possibly can. Even small grants and scholarships can help pay for food or books and the best part is that they are usually tax free.