UPCEA, along with ​ACE, and nearly 50 other higher education associations sent this letter to Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) regarding the higher education provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1).

The groups write they are concerned about provisions in the bill that would negatively impact students and undermine institutions by reducing charitable giving, creating an unprecedented tax on private colleges and universities, increasing costs and the regulatory burden on many colleges and universities, reducing the ability to access tax-exempt bonds for capital projects, and threatening state investment in higher education.

Read the full Letter to Senate Finance Committee on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

With advancements in computing and the Internet, higher education saw a major transformation in the late 1990’s and into the new millennium. With online education, regional boundaries and service areas soon disappeared and institutions of higher education began competing more directly with one another. With greater competition, the degree and higher education experience was quickly changing as power began shifting toward the student-consumer and towards those campuses that built out their online infrastructure and increased their tuition income. We are witnessing a significant redistribution of enrollments and revenue, as institutions are no longer secure in their local monopolies and regional dominance.

Read “The Changing Landscape for Professional and Continuing Education in the U.S.” for possibilities and scenarios to consider regarding those factors impacting higher education participation and the increasingly vital role of professional, continuing and online higher education.

Also, check out recent Center for Research and Strategy studies on other changes, like the rise of Generation Z and alternative credentials, impacting institutions:

The National Adult Learner Coalition, a group of organizations of which UPCEA is a founding member, wrote to Congressional leadership to express our concerns with H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and its elimination of the Lifetime Learning Credit and Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Our organizations are focused on how the nation’s public policies can better support the adult learner. The economy depends more and more on having a skilled and adaptable workforce. But we cannot meet the talent needs of business and industry without more adults seeking—and attaining—postsecondary training and credentials.  As a country we should be providing more support to low‐ and middle‐income workers who want to gain more skills to access high‐demand, high‐wage jobs. Instead, H.R. 1 is taking away some of the only financial incentives that help the adult learner pursue education and training – something that is critically needed for the nation’s overall economic competitiveness.

The Lifetime Learning Credit is being repealed in favor of a slight and inadequate expansion of the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The proposed AOTC does not provide a financial benefit for less than half‐time students. If tax credits are to be used to support the adult learner, they need to be designed in a way that reflects the reality of how adults engage in higher education. Adult learners are often working while learning, which means attending college part‐time and over several years. Section 127, meanwhile, has long been an important way for the federal government to incentivize employer investment in worker education. Without Section 127, employer‐provided tuition assistance would count as taxable income to the worker.

Click here to read the Coalition’s full letter.


Click here to see another letter the National Adult Learner Coalition and UPCEA signed with 45 other organizations re: H.R. 1 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

UPCEA joined with ACE and 44 other higher education associations to send this letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) on the higher education provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1).

The groups write that this legislation, taken in its entirety, would discourage participation in postsecondary education, make college more expensive for those who do enroll, and undermine the financial stability of public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities. According to the Committee on Ways and Means summary, the bill’s provisions would increase the cost to students attending college by more than $65 billion between 2018 and 2027.

Click here to read the full letter.