"Senate and House negotiators meeting this week to craft compromise tax-reform legislation plan to exclude from a final bill some controversial proposals affecting students and colleges, according to multiple reports," Inside Higher Ed reports.
"Lawmakers from the two chambers of Congress agreed to drop provisions that would treat graduate student tuition benefits as taxable income and repeal student loan interest deductions. Both provisions were included in House tax legislation passed last month but left out of a bill that narrowly cleared the Senate Dec. 2.
Another provision of that House bill that was reportedly excluded in negotiations would have eliminated interest-free private activity bonds, an alarming prospect for the many private colleges that use the bonds to save on construction of new campus facilities.
The reports will be welcome news for many in higher ed as congressional Republicans push forward on a rapid timeline to pass and send to the president’s desk this month a bill overhauling the nation’s tax code.
College leaders and higher ed lobby groups have warned for weeks about dire consequences for the sector of proposals in the tax-reform plans. And graduate students across the country have mobilized protests and other actions to oppose the new tax on tuition waivers. Last week, those protests reached the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan as 40 students and activists demonstrated outside and nine were arrested.
Their concerns appeared to register with some members of Congress ahead of the conference negotiations. Representative Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, circulated a letter among colleagues calling on GOP leaders in the House and Senate to drop the tuition-waiver proposal from a final bill."
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Publication Date: 12/15/2017