4 Ways the Republican Tax Plan Could Affect Teachers, Students and Schools

In varying ways, the tax bills recently passed by Republicans in the House and Senate could put college further out of reach for some Americans.

Democrats and education advocacy groups have criticized both bills, warning that they could make higher education less affordable and less accessible to historically underrepresented students and those from low-income families.

“We are deeply concerned that at a time when postsecondary degrees and credentials have never been more important to individuals, the economy, and our society, the tax reform proposal approved by the Senate could make college more expensive and undermine the financial stability of higher education institutions,” Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, said in a statement on Saturday after the Senate’s early-morning passage of its tax plan. “This is simply wrong-headed.”

The House and Senate bills are different, and it’s not yet clear which provisions will remain in the final bill after the reconciliation process.

Here are four key provisions of the GOP tax plan that could impact education:

Graduate students could see huge tax increases

For weeks, graduate students have been protesting a measure included in the House bill that would turn their tuition waivers into taxable income, dramatically increasing what they owe in taxes each year. Many have said they will be unable to complete their degrees or pursue a career in academia if they have to pay higher taxes using their already small student stipends.

University leaders have also warned that it would have a “devastating impact” on graduate students and higher education more broadly, pricing out many students and limiting U.S. competitiveness.

The Senate bill does not include this provision, and graduate students have been calling on lawmakers not to include it in the final bill.

Student loan tax credits could be repealed

The House bill would eliminate a tax deduction of up to $2,500 on student loan interest — an added concern for many of the aforementioned graduate students who are still paying off their undergraduate student loans.

The Senate bill would leave the deduction intact.

The wealthiest private college endowments could be taxed

Both bills included a measure to tax the endowments of the wealthiest private colleges and universities. The House bill would tax private colleges that have at least 500 students and endowments valued at $250,000 per full-time student. About 60 to 70 schools would meet those…

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