UI lobbying for tuition waivers in final version of GOP tax bill

UI lobbying for tuition waivers in final version of GOP tax bill

CHAMPAIGN — With Republicans trying to pass a tax-reform bill before Christmas, the University of Illinois is actively lobbying to keep the tax-free status of tuition waivers for grad students, among other provisions that could make higher education more expensive.

UI President Tim Killeen sent a letter Wednesday to the leaders of the conference committee that is trying to reconcile the U.S. House and Senate versions of the bill.

Along with removing the tuition waiver, the House version contains provisions that would tax university employees and their children for the value of undergraduate tuition waivers provided as a job benefit; eliminate the tax deduction for student-loan interest of up to $2,500; and repeal the Lifetime Learning Credit, which provides a tax credit for 20 percent of up to $10,000 of educational expenses for post-high school education.

The Senate version doesn't contain these provisions.

"I think everybody knows where we stand on these particular provisions. They would be very negative for public higher education," Killeen told The News-Gazette.

Killeen also sent an email to colleagues Friday detailing the steps UI has taken.

"Staff from our Office of Governmental Relations is also on the ground in Washington and is working with (the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities) and other national organizations to ensure that our voice continues to be heard during negotiations to reconcile the tax bills that were recently approved by the House and Senate," he wrote.

Killeen said the legislators he's contacted have been "very respectful," and he's optimistic about the final bill.

"I think these issues have come now on the radar screen and won't be ignored during the conference proceedings," he said. "We have a voice, and we're exercising it. The University of Illinois system is a big system."

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kiel wrote on December 09, 2017 at 8:12 am

I hope the university--and all other universities in the nation--are successful in getting these provisions removed. They would decimate higher education in the US. 

BruckJr wrote on December 09, 2017 at 8:12 am

Expect to see more of the same from each special interest group which is having its specifically tailored  tax loophole closed.