Taxing the American Dream

To the editor:

The dream of a college education is becoming an increasingly expensive one to attain: on average, students graduating with a bachelor’s degree have loan debt of over $37,000. If the current version of the GOP tax bill passes, college education will become even more of an unattainable dream for the average American.

If it passes, not only will tuition waivers for graduate students be taxed, making a graduate education financially out of reach for many, but it will also repeal the interest deduction for student loans, affecting over 12 million people and increasing the cost of student loans by approximately $24 billion.

Taxes on university endowment earnings will reduce the funds that universities have available to help low-income students. The bill will also repeal a provision that allows employees to receive around $5000 in tax-free tuition assistance from their employers, and will tax tuition discounts received by employees of educational institutions like Michigan Tech.

In a nutshell, the GOP tax bill will make it harder for the children of working and middle class Americans to receive a college education, and it will increase the debt burden for those who do manage to go to college. If fewer students are able to go to college, universities like Michigan Tech will suffer, and our area will suffer economically.

The GOP tax bill will make it easier for wealthy parents to send their children to private school, however: it will allow them to take money out of tax-free education savings accounts to pay private school tuition.

Education is an investment in our future, and higher education should be an attainable dream for everyone, not just the wealthiest Americans. Our Congressman, Jack Bergman, voted in favor of this tax bill that the president of the American Council on Education called the “reverse GI bill,” because it will “set back by decades the effort to make college more affordable for individuals from all walks of life.”

Please contact Congressman’s Bergman’s office (273-2227) and tell him that we want tax reform that invests in our future rather than taking us back to a time when only the rich could afford a decent education.