Sections of GOP Tax Plan Concern OU President

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ATHENS, Ohio — The president of Ohio University has concerns about the GOP’s tax plan as the House and Senate prepare to reconcile the differences in their bills.

Duane Nellis says both versions give him cause for concern as the head of an institute of higher education. But the House version in its current form has more elements that could make recruiting students more difficult.

He sees a provision to tax tuition waivers for grad students is would make continuing education almost impossible. And it is unnecessary move as the money graduate students receive for their work is limited.

“The amount of money that’s going to be generated from taxing graduate student tuition waivers when you look at the federal budget is minimal,” Nellis said. “This is like an attack. And [graduate students] are part of our futures.”

Other provisions that are points of concern include taxing tuition waivers that are part of employee benefits and the elimination standard deductions on student loans.

Nellis believes the GOP’s goal of growing the economy with the tax plan would be better served by encouraging higher education.

“To me, it’s about the future of our country as far as economic development and quality of life,” he said. “We need an educated citizenry.”

The university has been monitoring the process on the tax plan up to this point and plans to continue making their concerns heard.

“I’ve made my voice know to all of our Congressional delegation,” he said. “But I’ve also reached out to some of the senators that have been historically on the fence on the Republican side to see if I can get them to recognize this level of sensitivity.”

He’ll be keeping a close eye on the process as the House and Senate begin meeting on the reconciliation process.