UCI Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

TAKE ACTION: Let your voice be heard on tax reform

Students, faculty and staff,

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of tax reform, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, on Nov. 16. The U.S. Senate will vote on its version of the bill as early as this week.

The University of California has joined other colleges and universities nationwide in voicing opposition to H.R. 1 as, in its current form, it would impede our educational mission.

To understand the potential impact, consider some of these troubling provisions:

  • Education tax benefits: At the moment, low- and middle-income Americans can deduct up to $2,500 a year in student loan interest. That benefit would go away in 2018. In addition, graduate students who get tuition waivers because they teach or do research would now have to pay income tax on the waived amount. 
  • Charitable giving: The standard deduction will increase, reducing the number of taxpayers filing itemized returns that include charitable deductions. Research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy predicts that charitable giving will decline and there will be a decrease in gifts that fund scholarships, investment in research and innovation, and development of healthcare solutions for our community.
  • Tax-exempt bond financing: The bill would end critical bond tools used by the UC to finance infrastructure, academic and medical facilities, student housing and other capital projects.

UCI’s Community & Government Relations team, along with our UC Advocacy Network and others, is working to educate the Orange County congressional delegation about how these and other provisions would make college less accessible and more expensive. In addition, a group of UCI graduate students will meet this week with legislators in Washington, D.C., to voice their concerns, specifically on the provision that would increase their tax burden.

The UC Advocacy Network has issued a call to action on H.R. 1 and has developed tools to assist our advocates in communicating respectfully and effectively with Congress on this legislation. Please join UCAN to get up-to-date information on this and other issues important to our campus. We also encourage you to reach out to your local Congress member to have your voice heard on this bill utilizing the UCAN talking points. Find your representative by following this link.
Higher education is more important than ever to our economy and to individuals. It’s critical that we join together to shape public policy that’s good for students, the university and the communities we serve. As students, faculty and staff of one of California’s finest institutions of higher education, your voice counts. Be heard.

Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Distinguished Professor,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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