National Adult Learner Coalition Addresses Tax Cuts and Jobs Act H.R. 1
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The Lifetime Learning Credit is being repealed in favor of a slight and inadequate expansion of the American Opportunity Tax Credit.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.
UPCEA Policy Commitee
Scott Weimer, Virginia Tech, Chair
Jennifer Blum, Laureate Education
Allison Friederichs, University of Denver
Bea Gonzales, Syracuse University
Reed Scull, University of Wyoming
Jim Shaeffer, Old Dominion University