Pitt Community Update on U.S. Tax Reform Legislation

Dear Pitt Community Members:

As you may know, two versions of a new tax plan are being considered in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

While we may not often think of the tax code as helping students and families, it plays a vital role in supporting those who invest in themselves and higher education and in increasing accessibility and affordability. The current tax code also limits tax liabilities to institutions of higher education to keep their costs low and to donors to encourage philanthropic support for universities.

Unfortunately, these new proposals include a number of provisions which could diminish or eliminate these higher education tax benefits. For these reasons, the University of Pittsburgh firmly opposes the following proposed elements of the tax reform bill:

• Eliminating student loan interest deduction.

• Eliminating tax-free graduate student tuition waivers.

• Eliminating tax-free tuition assistance for university employees and dependents.

• Introducing a new excise tax on university endowments.

• Eliminating tax-exempt financing for capital projects.

• Eliminating deductions for some contributions to athletic programs.

I am deeply concerned by these proposed changes, which would be detrimental to the entire Pitt community. The changes would increase the University’s operating costs, limit charitable giving to the University, and create serious consequences for the future of the world-class research conducted on our campus.

I have joined other leaders from the broader higher education community to collectively voice our concerns to Congress. We have received positive responses from lawmakers and will continue to work to ensure that support for higher education and research—which benefits all Americans—is maintained in the final tax plan.

However, during my recent visits to Capitol Hill, it became clear that lawmakers are not hearing from the university community on this important issue. Compounding this problem is that Congress has placed the tax legislation on a fast-track process to speed up its passage.

I encourage you to visit the With Pitt portal, which provides more information about the status of these tax bills and information on how these proposals could impact higher education. Please take the time to look at these proposals, and consider contacting your elected officials so they hear your perspectives before they take final action. 

Thank you for your continued support. Together, we will work to ensure that the University’s mission of making the world better through knowledge remains strong and vibrant.

Sincerely,

Patrick Gallagher