President Mark Schlissel urged elected leaders to pass a tax-reform bill that protects the interests, futures and aspirations of college students and doctoral candidates in his remarks at Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting.
A bill called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act seeks to reform the nation’s tax code by reducing income tax rates for individuals and corporations, and eliminating many traditional tax benefits, including those offered to the higher education and health care communities.
The U.S House of Representatives and Senate have passed differing versions of the bill, which will now move forward to be reconciled in a conference committee.
“Higher education is a key driver of social mobility and economic growth in American society. College degrees prepare students to compete in a rapidly evolving job market and to live more enriching lives,” Schlissel said.
“Several provisions in the bills undermine our students. They seek to end tax benefits that are designed to make education more affordable,” he added. “If enacted, they would make it harder for students to earn a college degree here at Michigan and across our nation.”
Potential impacts to the university community include the taxing of student loan interest and the loss of tax-exempt status on tuition waivers for graduate students serving as teaching and research assistants.
Students and parents from families with moderate incomes also would no longer be able to deduct up to $4,000 for qualified higher education expenses on their taxes.
While both versions of the bill share the main priorities of cutting corporate and individual taxes, the House version would take effect Jan. 1, 2018, while the Senate version would take effect Jan. 1, 2019.
Members of the U-M community are encouraged to express their views about the proposals and their impact by reaching out to their elected representatives.