November 29,2006

Report Card on Tax Exemptions and Incentives for Higher Education: Pass, Fail, or Need Improvement?

Hearing Notice

November 28, 2006

The Committee on Finance will meet on Tuesday, December 5, 2006, at 10 a.m., in 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building, to hear testimony on “Report Card on Tax Exemptions and Incentives for Higher Education: Pass, Fail, or Need Improvement?”

Background: With tuition going up every year, endowments growing bigger every year, and the salary of another college president breaking the million-dollar mark seemingly every week, it's important for the Finance Committee to closely examine what colleges and universities are doing to justify their tax-exempt status. Through the tax code, colleges and universities get billions of dollars in tax breaks. Additional billions in tax relief go to students and parents to help pay for college. So it's only logical and responsible that we look at what institutions of higher learning are doing to keep tuition affordable and education accessible to students from every income level. We need to make sure that colleges and universities don't respond to every new tax incentive for students and parents with new tuition increases. Otherwise we’re just treading water, and tax incentives for students aren’t effective in helping students get ahead. Spiraling tuition costs and the subsequent burden of crushing student loan debt isn’t the right answer for the next generation.

The following witnesses are scheduled to testify: Mr. Daniel Golden, Deputy Bureau Chief, Boston Bureau, The Wall Street Journal, Boston, MA; Dr. Bridget Terry Long, Associate Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; Dr. James Johnson Duderstadt, President Emeritus, University Professor of Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; Ms. Patricia McGuire, President, Trinity (Washington) University, Washington, DC; Dr. Susan M. Dynarski, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; Mr. Michael Brostek, Director, Tax Issues, Strategic Issues Team, U.S. Government Accountability Office, Washington, DC.