Gallagher Takes Action to Protect Higher Ed Access & Financial Assistance

December 13, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mike Gallagher sent a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch urging them to retain two higher education provisions in the final version of the tax bill. Both provisions are vital to addressing access to higher education and confronting the country’s growing student debt crisis.

Rep. Gallagher said: “Creating a simpler, fairer tax system that benefits middle-income families in Northeast Wisconsin is one of my top priorities—this includes making sure that we do not punish Wisconsin students for pursuing higher education. I urge my colleagues in the conference committee to finalize a tax bill that includes these two provisions, so that everyone—business owners, families and students alike—are provided with the greatest opportunity to succeed.”

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

“First, we request that you maintain Section 117(d) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which enables taxpayers to exclude qualified tuition reductions from income. If repealed, this would raise the barrier of entry to college for many individuals. Colleges and universities throughout our districts provide employees – as well as their spouses and dependents – and graduate students with tuition reductions. If this section is not maintained, an unnecessary burden will be placed on taxpayers whose only ability to attend college or university is through receipt of qualified tuition reductions. We appreciated Chairman Brady’s commitment to address this issue during a colloquy on the House floor, and look forward to working with you to preserve this important provision.

Second, we urge you to maintain Section 127 of the IRC, which incentivizes employees to accept tax-free qualified educational assistance from employers as a means to further the employees’ education and obtain skills to thrive in the workforce.  Furthermore, this benefit should be expanded to include employees who have already accumulated student loan debt, as proposed in H.R. 795, the Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act. Seven in ten college seniors graduate with student loan debt – which now represents the second highest form of consumer debt. This debt harms our economy because it prevents many young adults from buying a house, purchasing a car, or saving for retirement.”

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