The proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will directly damage higher education in this country. The Act includes a number of changes to the tax code that will significantly increase: (a) the cost of college and (b) student debt.

At a time when lawmakers and the public should be keenly focused on lowering college cost and student debt burdens, this bill makes higher education in America more costly and less accessible. It harms higher education in the following ways:

  • New excise taxes on college endowments will take money away from needy students and vital college operations. Endowment income plays a major role in maintaining financial aid and covering educational costs. The taxation of this income will decrease the number of needy students receiving a college education, diminish academic programs, and weaken physical plants. It will also thereby hurt local economies.
  • The elimination of colleges’ access to tax­free funding (via the municipal bond market) will hurt their ability to build and maintain educational facilities at reasonable cost.
  • The elimination of itemized deductions among a vast majority of taxpayers will greatly reduce charitable giving, as will elimination of the estate tax . The loss of this support will directly reduce both financial aid for students in need and educational programming that prepares students to be productive citizens.
  • Three repeals that penalize students and will make it harder for Americans to afford college tuition and will significantly increase student debt. The result will be less educated and less solvent citizens.
    • the repeal of the deduction for interest on tuition loans
    • the repeal of the Hope Scholarships Tax Credit, and
    • the repeal of the Lifelong Learning Credit

The cumulative result of these tax changes will be losses in:

  • jobs and national economic health
  • educational quality
  • innovation and discovery
  • American global competitiveness

For over a century, the United States has offered higher education that is the envy of the world, enhancing our global standing and competitiveness. The proposed legislation will do lasting damage to our system of national education, hurting us at home and abroad for countless years to come. We urge you to reject or amend this harmful bill.