Caroline Waldner ’10 (LL.M. ’11) has been awarded first prize in the Theodore Tannenwald Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship’s 2010 writing competition. Waldner is currently a Tax Policy Fellow in the Graduate Tax Program . Her competition paper is entitled In Defense of College Savings Plans: Using 529 Plans to Increase the Impact of Direct Federal Grants for Higher Education to Low- and Moderate-Income Students. Waldner received a $5000 prize for winning the annual competition.
The paper, which will appear in an upcoming issue of the Florida Tax Review, was written as part of Professor Lily Batchelder’s Tax and Social Policy Seminar. Waldner argues that direct federal grants to low- and moderate-income students are more likely than other forms of aid (such as subsidized loans, work study programs, and tax incentives) to incentivize these students to obtain a higher education. The amount of the direct grant can be maximized by offering it as a matching grant for amounts that a family saves in a 529 plan. The program, Waldner says, would effectively turn the family’s savings into a direct grant for the student, thus increasing the total amount of the “grant” the student would receive at the time the college decision is made.
This is the second year in a row that an NYU Law student has won first place in the Tannenwald competition. In 2009, David Warner (LL.M. ’09), was given first prize for his paper on the taxation of healthcare and healthcare reform.