Letter to the LMU Community: Tax Reform Impacts

December 15, 2017

Dear LMU Community:

I write today to ask for your continued support for higher education.

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have recently passed tax bills that contain provisions that would be detrimental for college students (undergraduate and graduate), their families, and private colleges and universities across our country. This nonpartisan issue is a matter of public interest that will affect LMU.

The proposed legislation, as currently drafted, would have severe and lasting consequences that would increase LMU’s costs while reducing access to higher education nationwide. Specifically, the bills eliminate the tax deduction for student loan interest; institute taxes on educational benefits for university employees and their families; end the ability of private universities to issue federally tax-exempt bonds for construction or renovation projects; limit or eliminate the federal tax deductibility of charitable contributions to educational institutions; and impose new taxes on university endowments. These provisions may impair the affordability of college for many as well as the financial stability of educational institutions. Taken together, the increased costs would discourage participation in higher education and undermine our society by weakening our competitiveness, damaging our economy, and limiting opportunity for individuals to develop their full human potential.

These concerns have been echoed by my colleagues at many universities, as well as by national higher education associations, including the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the American Council on Education. A summary of these organizations’ positions can be found here and here.

The proposed legislation, as it stands, would adversely impact our students, their families, and our university. I urge you to voice your perspectives to our Congressional leaders. (For contact information, please refer to the directories for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.) I ask that you advocate for them to include the following provisions in the final bill:
Continue allowing deduction of interest paid on student loans;
Keep current tax-free educational benefits for employees, their spouses and children, and graduate students;
Retain issuance of tax-free bonds by private educational institutions for renovation and construction projects;
Maintain the tax deductibility of charitable contributions;
Reject imposing excise taxes on the endowments of private colleges and universities.
I hope you will join me to ensure that members of the House and Senate enact legislation that best serves our university community and those who work diligently to be a part of our LMU family. Our future depends on it.

With sincere appreciation and thanks,

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.