Tax- cut plan in Congress would drive up col­lege costs

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION -

Most col­lege stu­dents strug­gle to pay for higher ed­u­ca­tion, and their costs would go up even fur­ther un­der the tax plan re­cently pro­posed by Repub­li­cans in Congress. The cuts would hit dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of stu­dents in dif­fer­ent ways.

First, the pro­posal would re­duce the tax cred­its stu­dents can claim on their in­come- tax re­turns for ed­u­ca­tional ex­penses. For ex­am­ple, it al­lows stu­dents to take a full tax credit only for their first four years, and at a re­duced level for the fifth, be­fore it ends. This move will es­pe­cially hurt grad­u­ate stu­dents, who have al­ready com­pleted and paid for ( or con­tracted to pay for) four years, and older and non- tra­di­tional stu­dents, who typ­i­cally at­tend col­lege on and off and may have ex­hausted their four years.

The sec­ond way in which the pro­posed tax cuts harm stu­dents is by elim­i­nat­ing the in­come- tax de­duc­tion for in­ter­est paid on stu­dent loans. Many stu­dents grad­u­ate, get jobs and shoul­der the task of pay­ing back their loans. De­duct­ing in­ter­est helps them save money for a home, a fam­ily or other pur­suits that con­trib­ute to the com­mon good. Why would we want to hin­der them as they are achiev­ing their dreams?

tional Third, Louis most Univer­sity uni­ver­si­ties, in­cluded, Narely on gen­er­ous donors to fund schol­ar­ships and bridge the many costs tu­ition dol­lars do not cover. The pro­posed tax plan has a chill­ing ef­fect on donors. It dou­bles the stan­dard in­come tax de­duc­tion and re­duces the num­ber of Amer­i­cans who will item­ize their de­duc­tions from 30 per­cent to about 5 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the Council for Ad­vance­ment and Sup­port of Ed­u­ca­tion. With­out those item­ized de­duc­tions, donors have less in­cen­tive to give, and the Na­tional Council of Non­prof­its es­ti­mates giv­ing could fall by $ 13 bil­lion an­nu­ally. That will re­ally im­pact the fund­ing of uni­ver­si­ties like ours. We urge Congress to re­vise this tax pro­posal and re­store pro­vi­sions that ben­e­fit higher ed­u­ca­tion. It would be an in­vest­ment in Amer­ica’s hu­man cap­i­tal, which would grow our econ­omy in years to come. Marty Mickey, vice pres­i­dent, fi­nance, Na­tional Louis Univer­sity

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