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By Ornithological Council

GOOD NEWS: From the Chronicle on Higher Education, 12/14:


A legislative provision that would have effectively taxed tuition waivers used by graduate students to offset their educational costs will not be in the final tax package in Congress, Bloomberg reports. A House-Senate conference committee met on Wednesday to discuss the compromise bill, which Republican leaders hope to put on President Trump’s desk as soon as possible.


From Inside Higher Ed:
Senate and House negotiators meeting this week to craft compromise tax-reform legislation plan to exclude from a final bill some controversial proposals affecting students and colleges, according to multiple reports.
Lawmakers from the two chambers of Congress agreed to drop provisions that would treat graduate student tuition benefits as taxable income and repeal student loan interest deductions. Both provisions were included in House tax legislation passed last month but left out of a bill that narrowly cleared the Senate Dec. 2.


Also said to be OUT OF THE FINAL BILL: the elimination of student loan interest deductions

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If the tax bill were to pass unchanged, roughly 145,000 graduate students could be responsible for suddenly paying taxes on the thousands of dollars in waivers that cover their tuition.






In addition, the Republican tax plan now under consideration eliminates the tax-free status of employer tuition reimbursements, up to $5,250 a year.


Higher education groups are already voicing opposition to this and other features of the bill that would increase the cost of higher education.


It also proposes taxing some private college endowments, which would discourage contributions to those endowments. Republicans proposed a 1.4-percent tax on the endowments of private colleges that enroll more than 500 students and that have nest eggs of more than $100,000 per student. The proposal would generate an estimated $3 billion over 10 years.'


[Update 11/8: In the markup, the committee changed this to institutions with assets of $250,000 per enrolled student or more, vs. the $100,000 threshold in the initial bill].


Is your college/university on the list? https://www.colleger...wmentPerStudent


And, as fewer people would itemize their deductions under this bill, it would likely the lead to a steep decline in donations to colleges.


More info: https://www.insidehi...n-waivers-would


Update 11/9: A strong argument from conservative George Will: https://www.washingt...m=.086e2ed58af4


WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN: https://www.house.gov/representatives/


WRITE YOUR SENATOR: https://www.senate.g...nators/contact/