The Future of Higher Education, Part 2

As you may know, on Friday the final conference report of the House and Senate tax reform bills was released. Earlier versions contained provisions with significant negative implications for the future of higher education, including changes to policies on student and family tuition and loan benefits, bond financing and taxes on endowments. Had all of these changes been enacted, the elimination of these benefits would impede our ability to keep costs down to make a college education accessible and affordable; but most importantly, they would have placed an undue burden upon the students and families that it is our mission to serve.

As a member of the Board of Directors representing the northeastern states and chair of the Committee on Student Aid for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), I spent time with my colleagues over the past few weeks on Capitol Hill, leading advocacy efforts for the elimination of these changes. I also felt it was important to provide a voice in the national and regional news media, and conducted interviews with The New York Times, Reuters, and New England Cable News, amongst others.

I am very pleased that in the final report, private colleges and universities, and the students and families we serve, have survived many of the most harmful proposals, including the preservation of the student loan interest deduction and employer-provided tuition assistance. The endowment tax provision has remained in the bill; it has been raised to $500,000/FTE, which will not affect Saint Anselm College. As you will see below, NAICU has released a helpful checklist of key provisions contained in the final draft:Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 breakdownAmerican private colleges and universities, including Saint Anselm College, make vital contributions to our nation and our world. If this legislation is signed into law (as it is expected to be by the end of this week), we will have to accommodate several changes affecting the financing of our institutions. However, our students and employees will not now be facing devastating changes to their financial situations, and it is to be hoped that higher education will continue to make those invaluable social and economic contributions.

In the future, I hope that members of Congress will enact legislation that helps, rather than hinders, us in our mission to serve students and their families. I pledge always to lend my support and advocacy to that cause.