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Rubio and Schock Introduce Legislation to Consolidate Tax Incentives for Higher Education

Jun 4, 2013 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL-18) introduced the Higher Education & Skills Obtainment Act. The bill aims to update and consolidate America’s higher education tax incentives into one provision that will help millions of Americans pursue higher education, simplify the tax code and save taxpayers money.

“America must increase the accessibility of post-secondary education in order for our people to remain competitive in our increasingly global economy,” Rubio said. “Unfortunately, our current network of higher education tax incentives only complicates the pursuit of affordable education while also attracting costly abuse and fraud. Our bill will replace this complex and burdensome tax system with a simple provision to assist eligible students, whether they are pursuing skills training or a university degree. Americans are tired of dealing with complex and frustrating tax laws, and when an issue as important as higher education is at stake, we can’t afford to delay reform.”

“One of the most complicated sections of our tax code is the numerous temporary tax incentives offered for higher education, which often do little more than serve as justification for out of control tuition increases,” said Schock. “We are proposing replacing that confusion with one simple and permanent provision to help millions of American’s attend institutions of higher learning. This legislation will also provide opportunities for American’s seeking skills training as an alternative to attending a college or university. Simplifying our current 70,000 page tax code while reducing the tax burden placed on all taxpayers is a priority for me and my colleagues on the Ways & Means Committee. This legislation is an important step in that direction.”

The Higher Education & Skills Obtainment Act will save nearly $4 billion annually by eliminating credits that currently go to taxpayers who aren’t students or didn’t attend an eligible institution, those who attended less than half-time, those who have exceeded four year credit limitations, and those who are non-resident aliens.

The bill also contains these additional cost-saving measures:

  • Refundability of Higher Education credits reverted to pre-stimulus levels – $8 billion per year.
  • Eligible expenses reflects what was actually received from educational institution, not what was billed.
  • Income phase-out levels would now be reflective of appropriate poverty levels.
  • Elimination of direct credit for graduate school attendance which is often cited as a contributor to higher education costs – $2 billion per year.

More details on the Higher Education & Skills Obtainment Credit:

  • Provides $2,500 yearly permanent tax credit for first four years of post-secondary education.
  • Credit value phases out between 400- 500 percent above the poverty level.
  • “Eligible Student” includes at least half-time undergraduate student, graduate student, certificate seeking student, credential seeking student, or persons enrolled in job skills training.
  • Eligible “Job Skill Training” must come from an eligible provider of such services as indentified by the Workforce Investment Act.