June 29, 2021
Ways & Means subpanel holds education hearing
During the June 29 House Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing on "Expanding Access to Higher Education and the Promise It Holds," some witnesses suggested that tax incentives are not always the most effective way to get low-income students into higher education, and that approaches like free community college and making college affordability more explicit to younger students may be more successful. There was also discussion of mounting student debt. Some Democrats in Congress want to make community college free and forgive student debt under certain conditions.
In an opening statement, Chairman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) said, "Student loan debt totals approximately $1.7 trillion. The average debt load of America's 45 million student borrowers is $38,000. This often delays recent graduates from buying homes, starting families, and moving into the middle class. It is a challenge of our time. We must understand why the costs of college are outpacing other costs in the economy. And we must offer more relief to those struggling to pay for their education."
Ranking Member Mike Kelly (R-PA) was one of several members who mentioned bipartisan legislation, the Tax Free Pell Grants Act, to expand the use of Pell Grants on a tax-free basis, improve coordination with the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), and ensure students don't lose out on any AOTC benefits.
Testimony is available here.
Chairman Pascrell's opening statement is available here.
Additional information is available in the attached Tax Alert.
Ways & Means education hearing