Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement regarding the House-Senate conference report on the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and its support for college students:

“I fought alongside my colleagues in the Senate to preserve key tax incentives for undergraduate and graduate students in the final tax reform legislation. This was a hard-fought victory for Ohio students struggling with the cost of college.  I’m also pleased that the final bill includes my Stop Taxing Death and Disability Act, which will eliminate a tax penalty levied on student loans forgiven for families after the death of their child and Americans who develop permanent disabilities. I am pleased to continue my support for this important legislation that will not only help middle-class families, but also assist undergraduate and graduate students as they work finish their education and enter the workforce.”

The final House-Senate agreement preserves key tax incentives that support undergraduate and graduate students, incentives that were preserved in the Senate-passed bill but repealed in the original House bill. Chief among these tax incentives, the final agreement:

  • Preserves the deduction for interest paid on student loans;
  • Preserves the deduction for tuition and related higher education expenses up to $4,000;
  • Preserves the exclusion for interest earned from U.S. savings bonds if used to cover for higher education expenses;
  • Preserves the exclusion for tuition reductions (i.e., if a graduate student is teaching a class in addition to pursuing their degree, the college may absorb their costs of tuition as a form of compensation for their service); and
  • Preserves the exclusion for employer-provided education assistance payments of up to $5,250.

Of note, the final conference report also includes Portman’s Stop Taxing Death & Disability Act, which exempts families from paying tax on the forgiveness of a student loan that automatically occurs if when the student dies or becomes permanently disabled.

Portman, who has held six tax reform roundtables in Ohio with local business leaders in recent months, has been vocal on the national stage calling for tax reform, including during recent interviews on CBS This Morning, Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV, and NBC’s Meet The Press twice, as well as recently in op-eds in the Akron Beacon Journal, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Delaware Gazette, and Cincinnati Enquirer. The tax reform effort is widely supported by students, small businesses, manufacturers, farmers, and other state and local organizations.

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