The Senate early Saturday morning narrowly approved major tax legislation roundly opposed by higher education leaders and student groups...
The 51-to-49 Senate vote sets up negotiations with House leaders over substantial differences between the two bills. Most in higher education view that House bill as substantially more harmful for students and colleges than the Senate bill, but that doesn't mean they don't have major concerns over the Senate legislation.
...But the Senate plan does not include provisions stripping many tax benefits for students pursuing a college or graduate degree or paying off their loans, making it a significant improvement over the House bill, said Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, in a statement. Student and faculty groups mobilized protests across the country this week against the elimination of those student tax benefits. Those protests focused in particular on a provision of the House bill that would tax graduate student tuition waivers as income -- a change that those groups say would make graduate education unattainable for many students....I suspect the tuition waiver will go away, but my assessment of my ability to predict political outcomes has taken a dive as of late...
UPDATE: Derek Lowe has some good advice on calling your elected representatives.
From ACS' lobbying effort Act4Chemistry:
- The House voted and passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act - the bill does not preserve the graduate education tax waiver
- The Senate voted and passed H.R. 1 - the bill preserves the graduate education tax waiver
- Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX-08) stated there may be flexibility on the House's elimination of the graduate education tax waiver
- Congress will now work to reconcile the different versions of the House and Senate tax bill.