House votes to simplify tax breaks for higher education, excluding some graduate students

The House has passed a bill to simplify a complicated patchwork of tax breaks for higher education.

The bill would make permanent a tax credit that provides students with up to $2,500 a year to help pay tuition and related expenses at universities, community colleges and trade and vocational schools. Under current law, the credit is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017.

But some higher education officials oppose the bill because many graduate students and older students would lose their tax breaks. That's because students could only claim the credit in the first four years of college.

The White House says President Barack Obama supports making the tax credit permanent but that he opposes the bill because it would add nearly $97 billion to the budget deficit.