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NAICU Action Alert: Contact Congress on Tax Reform

NAICU action alert

Dear Colleagues:

I am reaching out to ask you to contact Congress immediately on the conference that is now underway to resolve differences in the House and Senate tax bills.The Senate approved its version of tax reform early Saturday morning, and the process of reconciling the two versions will start immediately. 

The House bill proposes the elimination of many benefits important to colleges and universities, and the students and families we serve.While the Senate bill retains the student and family benefits and Private Activity Bonds, it also contains a new excise tax on private college endowments, similar to the House bill.

NAICU has reviewed and assessed the contents of both bills, and identified the biggest concerns that will impact independent higher education. I have brief talking points below, and a sample outreach letter to help inform any conversations you are able to have with your Congressional representatives.

In short, our message to Members of both the House and Senate is:

  • Please retain the student and family tuition and loan benefits, as the Senate bill would, in any final conference report on the tax bills.  This includes the Student Loan Interest Deduction, Sec. 127 employer-provided education assistance, Sec. 117(d) tuition remission benefits, and the Lifetime Learning Credit
  • Please retain Private Activity Bonds, as the Senate bill would, in the final conference report.
  • Please reject the elimination of advance refunding of bonds that is in both the House and Senate bills. Being able to issue a tax-exempt refund gives issuers the greatest flexibility in taking advantage of lower interest rates and other market conditions. This would generate savings which are passed on to our institutions and, ultimately, our students and families.
  • Please reject the new excise tax on private college and university endowments that is in both the House and Senate bills.  This punitive intrusion into charitable giving is a terrible precedent and a mean-spirited attack on our sector.
  • Private colleges and universities are doing everything possible to keep costs down to make a college education accessible and affordable. However, the federal raid on student benefits, bond financing, and endowments contained in the tax proposals will negatively impact our ability to keep college affordable.  Students, unfortunately, will bear the brunt of these harmful proposals.

Next Steps

The expectation is that a final conference report will be brought to each chamber and President Trump by December 31.  However, it could happen sooner.It’s important that you reach out to your House and Senate members and their staff now.  It’s a critical moment in the process and time is short.

Thank you for your help with our efforts to preserve these important benefits and avoid additional taxes on our institution’s resources.

Sincerely,

David

David L. Warren, Ph.D.
President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities