Bad News for Student Loan Borrowers

Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor

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The recent tax plan announced by the GOP would, if passed, have some serious drawbacks for students trying to pay for higher education. The new bill would get rid of the student loan interest deduction, which allows qualified borrowers to deduct up to $2,500 of student loan interest paid in a year. As it was reported in an article on huffingtonpost.com that in 2016 more than 70 percent of college graduates finance their education by way of student loans, this would inevitably make it even harder for many students to afford college, a move that, as college students, we have to disagree with.

If this new bill is passed, more people could end up dropping out of college or choosing not to attend at all because they just would not have a viable way of financing it. We would end up having less people being educated at the tertiary level, which could lead to further limitations on economic mobility for many.

Along with the elimination of the student loan interest deduction, according to Kim Dancy for CNN.com, the plan would also include “major reductions in tax credit for tuition that help students and their families offset college costs, moves to treat employer-provided tuition payments as taxable income, and [would propose] taxing endowment income at prestigious private universities.”

An article posted on Time.com by Kaitlin Mulhere states “Overall, Republicans say this plan will ‘“streamline”’ education benefits for families, and that’s a net positive. The current benefits are ‘so complicated that they are ineffective because many taxpayers cannot determine the tax benefits for which they are eligible,’”

These proposed cuts would certainly mean more funding for the government, as Republicans estimate the new regulations would bring in up to $47.5 billion over 10 years. However, even though the funding is much needed, it shouldn’t be gained at the expense–figuratively and literally–of people who want to attain a higher education.

The American Association of State Colleges said, “We are disappointed that the proposal unveiled undermines public higher education through its elimination of deductibility of state and local income and sales taxes, important tax advantages for students and families, and critical tax benefits for institutions. These changes together would make college less affordable for the vast majority of students who access higher education through public colleges and universities.”

Not everybody needs college to become successful, but those who wish to gain a college degree to better their lives should not be stopped because their government made the life-changing experience too far out of reach. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, and the opportunity to become a college graduate should be accessible and affordable to all who desire to.  

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