Three Extra Days to File Means More Time for Families to Explore Education Tax Benefits

NASFAA Provides Updated Info to Help Families Make the Most of Their Returns for the 2015 Tax Year

Busy parents and students, rejoice! Thanks to Emancipation Day, a D.C. holiday which marks the anniversary of the abolition of slavery, this year’s deadline for filing federal tax returns has been pushed back to April 18. With taxes due a full three days later than usual, families have even more time to explore higher education tax benefits which could shave thousands off their 2015 tax bills.

Newly updated resources from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) can help. The “2015 Tax Year - Federal Tax Benefits for Higher Education,” page on the Student, Parents & Counselors section of explains the tax credits and deductions available for the 2015 tax year. The information can help taxpayers determine if they are eligible for current incentives, including:

  • The American Opportunity Tax Credit: This credit provides up to $2,500 per student and up to 40 percent of the credit may be refundable.
  • The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit: This credit provides up to $2,000 per tax return (not per student). Unlike the American Opportunity Tax Credit, this credit is non-refundable so the maximum credit is limited to the amount of tax you owe. This credit may be particularly helpful to graduate students.
  • Tuition and Fees Tax Deduction: This deduction can reduce your taxable income by as much as $4,000 and may benefit those who are not eligible for any of the tax credits. 
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction: This benefit allows you to deduct interest paid on student loans for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents. It can reduce your taxable income by as much as $2,500. The deduction amount you are eligible for depends on the amount of interest paid and your income. 

“Just as we urge every family to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, we encourage all families with students enrolled in college to explore their tax options,” NASFAA President Justin Draeger said. “The federal government provides these tax incentives to help alleviate some of that financial strain of paying for college. Families owe it to themselves to see what they may be entitled to when it comes to tax credits and deductions.”

NASFAA policy experts and financial aid administrators can synthesize complex tax information and can also speak to the current political climate surrounding higher education tax benefits. For more information, contact us at 202-785-6959 or to set up an interview.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit

Publication Date: 3/15/2016

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