Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,
Please find below a message from the New York Six Consortium Presidents related to
H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives. More information on the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium may be accessed here.
November 6, 2017
We write concerning the bill introduced last week in the U. S. House of Representatives,
H.R. 1, which includes provisions that will have significant negative impacts on those
seeking degrees at the nation’s private colleges and universities and on the operation
of these important institutions themselves. These additional financial burdens would
be imposed at a time when colleges and universities are working hard to contain their
costs to make higher education affordable for all young Americans.
First, by eliminating the Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, the bill hurts families
who are saving for their children’s college educations in the hope of providing them
with the means for a successful future. Further, eliminating deductions for student
loan interest will make it even more difficult for recent college graduates to gain
financial stability early in their careers, and it could serve as a disincentive for
students to pursue a college degree.
The bill also proposes taxes on certain private college endowments, the income from
which funds millions of dollars in financial aid in our six institutions alone, thereby
ensuring access and affordability for students from all walks of life. Finally, this
bill would eliminate the ability of private institutions to issue tax-exempt bonds
to finance new construction, thus increasing the cost of upgrading facilities such
as classrooms, science labs, and student housing.
These elements of H.R. 1 are, quite simply, opposed to a bipartisan commitment to
the value of higher education as a critical element of individual and collective advancement.
To eliminate key financial incentives and benefits that ensure a student’s college
of choice is within reach is to eliminate students’ freedom to seek higher education
on their own terms. To tax endowment income will only make it harder for the broadest
range of students to attend these important institutions.
We ask you to reject these provisions of H.R. 1 in the interest of maximizing educational
opportunities for students so that our communities and our country will benefit from
their future achievements and prosperity for generations to come.
Stephen Ainlay, President, Union College
Brian Casey, President, Colgate University
William Fox, President, St. Lawrence University
Philip Glotzbach, President, Skidmore College
Gregory Vincent, President, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
David Wippman, President, Hamilton College