Tax Bill Moving Despite Widespread Opposition

DC Shuttle …

Tax Bill Moves Forward Despite Educators’ Resistance. Both the U.S. House and Senate voted to go to conference on their versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bills would make significant changes to higher education. Between the House and Senate versions of the legislation, the following changes would impact higher education institutions and students:

  • Endowment Tax
  • Elimination of State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT)
  • Elimination of Deduction for Tuition and Interest Payments on Student Loans
  • Repeal of Private Activity Bonds and Advance Refunding Bonds
  • Elimination of the Lifetime Learning Credit and Hope Scholarship Credit
  • Repeal of the Education Assistance Program
  • Repeal of the Qualified Tuition Reduction
  • Tax on Graduate School Tuition Waivers
  • Tax on Licensing of University Logos
  • Tax on Compensation of Nonprofit Organization Employees
  • Repeal of the Exemption for Dependents

The New England Council sent a letter to New England senators regarding the Senate version of the legislation, and on Friday sent a letter to conference committee members detailing its concerns. The legislation has garnered significant resistance from the education community.

HEA Draft Bill Scheduled for Markup. The House Education and the Workforce Committee scheduled a markup this week on its legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The legislation, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” H.R. 4508, was introduced on Dec. 1 by Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and the committee published a summary of the bill and a fact sheet. The most recent reauthorization of HEA, passed in 2008 and expired in 2013. Foxx had advertised her desire for the House to pass HEA reauthorization this Congress and could get support to do so. The legislation would likely face a harder path in the Senate.

IDEA Bill Introduced. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced legislation that would fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). The bill would increase IDEA funding during the next five years to $34.5 billion. This number represents 40% of the additional cost of educating students with disabilities, as prescribed by the law.

HELP Confirms ED Nominees. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing and questioned nominations to the Department of Education. The committee questioned Kenneth Marcus, the administration’s nomination to head the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, and Johnny Collett, the nominee to lead special education policy. During the hearing, Democrats focused on guidance put forward by the Obama administration on sexual assault, Edweek reports. In September, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinded guidance that clarified the protections that sexual assault survivors should be granted under Title IX. Inside Higher Ed has more here. HELP Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement in support of the nominees, and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) expressed concerns in her remarks.

Administration Begins Review of School Discipline Guidance. Teachers from across the country met with Trump education officials to discuss maintaining Obama-era guidance on school discipline. The representatives met with Candice Jackson, the Education Department’s acting assistant secretary of civil rights.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of Dec. 11, 2017. For more information, please visit:


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