Congressmen Mike Turner (OH-10) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) sent a letter with 24 of their colleagues to Chairman Kevin Brady (TX-8) of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Chairman Orrin Hatch (UT) of the Senate Committee on Finance to include two provisions in the final tax reform bill to help students pursuing a higher education. Congressmen Turner and Davis previously had a colloquy with Chairman Brady on the House floor about this issue.
“Tax reform is an important opportunity for our country to grow,” said Congressman Turner. “When our workforce is better educated and has less debt, our economy thrives. These education benefits are critical for middle class Americans pursuing the opportunity of higher education in an attempt to better their lives. I encourage the Chairmen to include these provisions in the final tax reform bill to ensure people are still able to pursue the American dream.”
“There is no doubt that by doubling the standard deduction and expanding 529 plans and the child tax credit, this bill will allow the majority of Americans keep more of what they earn,” said Congressman Davis. “But as a member of Congress representing eight colleges and universities, I believe there are a couple of changes that could be made to specifically help address student debt and access to higher education – a one-trillion-dollar problem within our country. By addressing these issues in tax reform, we can ensure that a building services worker who has worked the same job at a university for 20 years or graduate student are not punished and help address student debt.”
The first provision the letter asks to have included in the final tax reform bill allows taxpayers to exclude qualified tuition reductions from income. If tuition reductions are not maintained, university employees and their spouses and dependents, as well as graduate students, will face an unnecessary burden in pursuing a higher education.
The second provision is business-provided incentives for employees seeking a higher education. Tax-free qualified educational assistance increases the quality of the American workforce. Additionally, the members ask that tax-free qualified educational assistance be expanded to include employees with existing student loan debt, a financial burden seven in ten current college seniors face upon graduation.