Published: Dec. 4, 2017

Senate approval

Over the weekend, the Senate approved its tax overhaul bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, on a party line vote of 51 to 49. The House of Representatives previously approved its version of the legislation in mid-November. 

What’s next

The Senate measure still has to be reconciled with the House version before Congress can send the legislation to President Trump for his approval. That effort begins tonight when the House is scheduled to vote to send the tax plans to a bicameral conference committee that will be tasked with resolving policy disagreements, both major and minor, within the bills.

House and Senate leadership aims to send a final bill to President Trump before the end of the year.

Comparisons of student provisions in the two bills

Some key areas of divergence between the bills that will impact higher education and the CU Boulder community are:

  • Tuition waivers: Currently, universities can reduce or waive tuition for graduate teaching and research assistants without tax consequences. The House-passed bill eliminates this tax exemption whereas the Senate-passed bill retains it.
  • Student loan interest: The House-passed bill does away with tax deductions on student loan interest whereas the Senate-passed bill retains this benefit.

CU Boulder and our partners at the national higher education associations have urged Congress not to raise taxes on college students and will continue to advocate that these provisions are not included in the final bill sent to President Trump.

Additional provisions impacting higher education

While the totality of Senate bill provisions are still being analyzed, other areas that will need to be resolved in a conference committee include provisions related to charitable giving, employee and dependent tuition benefits, business taxes applicable to exempt organizations like universities, bond reforms and the deductability of state and local taxes.

Among the higher education community

The Association of American Universities, of which CU Boulder is a member institution and on whose board Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano sits, has released a statement, AAU President Expresses Disappointment in Tax Reform Legislation.