Tax proposals possible impact on Brandeis

Nov. 11, 2017

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Over the past week, many of us have received notes and emails regarding tax-reform legislation under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. These notes have uniformly expressed great concern about the negative impact these legislative proposals would have on Brandeis and Brandeis students at a time when investments in education and research are critical to our capacity to compete and innovate in a global marketplace.

For example, the House tax bill passed yesterday includes provisions that would have severe consequences for our nearly 1,800 graduate students, potentially increasing an individual student’s income tax by thousands of dollars. The House bill would also treat tuition waivers for Brandeis employees and their families as taxable income. In addition, it would eliminate the tax deductibility of student loan interest, eliminate the Lifetime Learning Credit and reduce the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Finally, the House bill would severely increase the cost that schools like Brandeis would have to undertake to borrow funds to invest in much-needed infrastructure and deferred maintenance on campus; it would also limit our access to such funds.

Both the House and the Senate tax bills would impose a tax on the net-investment income generated by college and university endowments. While the Brandeis endowment falls below the proposed threshold for this tax of $250,000 per student, it may become a binding constraint for our university in the future.

The Senate will likely vote on its own tax-reform bill shortly. After that, members of the House and the Senate will have to resolve the differences between their respective proposals in the weeks that follow, moving toward a likely resolution in December.

Brandeis is working closely with the Association of American Universities and other university groups that are speaking out about the damaging impact of these proposed tax changes. If you want to weigh in on this important discussion, I urge you to express your views by using this link to contact members of Congress.


Lisa M. Lynch