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APLU Statement on House Tax Reform Bill

Washington, DC – APLU President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, introduced today by U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX).

“Reforming our nation’s tax code is long overdue and we appreciate the effort that went into crafting this legislation. We recognize that policymakers have many priorities they must balance. But as written, the bill would have deeply negative consequences for access to higher education, the cost of college, and efforts to develop the highly skilled workforce that is needed to propel our nation’s economy forward.

“The proposed changes to the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit, for example, are not merely simplification of benefits but an overall reduction in support for students pursuing higher education. By eliminating the Lifetime Learning Credit, the bill would reduce support for both non-traditional students seeking to adapt their skills to a rapidly changing economy and graduate students pursuing advanced education that boosts our nation’s competitiveness globally.

“We are also greatly concerned about provisions in the legislation that would tax students on tuition reductions that colleges and universities provide, especially to graduate students who are teaching or performing pathbreaking research. The legislation would also tax students on employer-provided education assistance, which has proven highly effective at encouraging the private sector to invest in their employees’ educational advancement.

“The current tax code helps reduce the cost of college for good reason – not just because a college education benefits individuals, but because it benefits society at large. Rather than unleashing American growth, provisions eliminating incentives for individuals to pursue higher education would constrain it. As our counterparts and competitors abroad aim to vastly increase the number of skilled workers in highly technical fields, we can’t afford to roll back incentives that have long helped make the American workforce the envy of the world.

“APLU looks forward to working with members of Congress to support retaining essential provisions that support higher education and bolster U.S. economic competitiveness.”

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