Skidmore and H.R. 1
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