Letter: Don’t Let Congress Pass Tax Reform at the Expense of Students

President Napolitano, Student Regent Paul Monge and Student Regent-designate Devon Graves sent the following email to UC supporters on Nov. 28, urging them to take action against proposed tax reforms moving through Congress:

Friend,

Tax reform should make college more affordable, not less accessible. Bills moving in both the House of Representatives and the Senate will negatively impact our university community – Congress shouldn’t pass tax reform on the backs of UC students.

At the University of California, we estimate that at least 30 percent of our students and their families rely heavily on current tax provisions – this includes everything from the Lifetime Learning Credit and the Hope Scholarship to the deduction for Qualified Tuition and Related Fees. Also proposed for repeal is the Student Loan Interest Deduction, which is a tax incentive available to help students pay their loans. While 47 percent of UC undergraduates graduate without any loans, provisions like the Student Loan Interest Deduction are important to help students manage the repayment of student loans and afford a higher education. In 2014, 12 million taxpayers across the nation benefitted from the Student Loan Interest Deduction.

Additionally, also up for repeal is the Qualified Tuition Reductions (Section 117(d)), which make it possible to provide graduate students with a non-taxable tuition reduction while they pursue their degree and work as research or teaching assistants. Graduate students are a vital part of the university community; they conduct research, mentor students and educate the next generation. If the House legislation were enacted, graduate students would face steep increases in their tax liability, forcing many to question the viability of attending or continuing graduate school. Graduate students with teaching appointments or research assistantships could face tax burdens of at least $1,000 per year in most instances, according to a UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate who analyzed the impact of the House legislation. In addition, research conducted at UC Irvine shows that graduate students there would see their take-home pay reduced by nearly 20 percent.

Please join us in calling on Congress to oppose tax reform that will hurt UC and our nation’s students. Your advocacy can help make the difference.

Thank you,

Janet Napolitano
President, University of California

Paul Monge
Student Regent, University of California Board of Regents

Devon Graves
Student Regent-designate, University of California Board of Regents

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