The Republican party has proposed a controversial tax plan that is expected to negatively impact higher education. Current and former college students already struggle with the high cost of secondary education, but the new tax legislation could make it even more expensive.
Critics have pointed out that the tax reforms will discourage people from seeking certain forms of higher education. Advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, will become more unattainable as costs for these fields become unaffordable for many. In addition to raising taxes on college graduates, the House wants to remove the student loan interest deduction, adding to student debt.
Louisiana State University President F. King Alexander is just one of many educational leaders who has spoken out against the tax plan, saying, “They’re willing to throw higher education and our students under the bus to get a win on tax reform.”
“It’s a very discriminatory, ill-thought-out proposal,” remarks Rise president Leebron. “The proposal literally makes no sense, as a coherent addition to the tax code.”
Political commentators have observed that the tax legislation is apart of a bigger cultural war against higher education institutions. According to Politico, Americans are increasingly apathetic to the problems of graduate students. Colleges and universities are seen as catering to elite and wealthy U.S. citizens while overlooking lower or middle-income people. While it may be difficult to get citizens to care about the tax plan’s impact on higher education, the plan has been criticized in a number of other ways.