Thursday, 16 November 2017 08:44

Letter Opposing Provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

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Dear Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi:

The undersigned organizations represent a broad spectrum of scientific and engineering societies. Together we represent millions of scientists, mathematicians and engineers from around the world, including students studying at U.S. universities and colleges. We are extremely concerned with provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) that will increase the financial burden for graduate students by repealing existing provisions in tax law.

While the goal of the House tax reform plan is to help grow the U.S. economy, the language to repeal the student loan interest deduction, graduate student tuition waivers, the Hope Scholarship Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and educational assistance programs ultimately will have the opposite effect. By making advanced education less affordable, it is likely to drive some students away from seeking higher education. Because a majority of graduate students are in the key areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), these provisions will have an outsized impact in the sciences.

U.S. scientific and technological ingenuity has helped to make our nation one of the most innovative in the world and generated tremendous economic benefit to our country. This inventive spirit starts with people and ideas – and it is our higher-education system that has fostered the development of inventors, entrepreneurs, Nobel Laureates, and business leaders.

Repealing the very provisions that allow graduate students to continue to study in critical STEM fields means that we will be shutting the door on new opportunities for discovery, exploration and innovation.

For these reasons, we urge you to preserve the critical graduate student tax benefit provisions, especially section 117(d), 117(d)(5), and 127.