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APLU Statement on Tax Bill Conference Report

Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released the following statement regarding the release of the conference report for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

We express deep appreciation to the members of Congress who championed students and higher education as changes to the tax bill were considered in conference. We applaud the recognition of universities’ vital contributions to society as well as higher education’s importance to students and their families.

“We’re pleased that initial provisions of the bill that would have significantly increased the taxable income of graduate students and student borrowers were scrapped. The conference report also critically preserves the Lifetime Learning Credit and the tax benefit for employer-provided tuition assistance, which will help ensure more students and workers can pursue education that is essential to maintaining a competitive workforce and boosting economic growth. For students, the bill is significantly better than earlier proposals and we commend policymakers for making changes.

“We remain concerned that the increase in the standard deduction will reduce taxpayers’ incentive to support non-profits such as universities through charitable giving. As states have cut appropriations for public higher education, philanthropy has become an increasingly important means to support public higher education. An above-the-line charitable deduction that would benefit all taxpayers, not just those who itemize is an appropriate solution that we will continue to discuss with lawmakers. Additionally, the limitation on the size of the state and local tax deduction could make it more challenging for states to generate revenue to support public higher education.

“Like any complex legislation, technical corrections and changes will no doubt be considered in the future. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress.”

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