Concern about the future of higher education in America

The AAPA is working with the American Anthropological Association to provide a means for you to let your US Congressional delegation know about your concern over the future of higher education in the States. Please read the following notice from Alex Barker, the AAA President


Dear Colleagues – if you are concerned about the future of higher education in America, please take a few minutes to let your US Congressional delegation know of your concerns this week.

Please click here to take action, and encourage others to do so via social media.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, over the weekend the US Senate passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The US House of Representatives had passed a different version of this bill on November 16. The House and Senate will now choose members for a conference committee to try to reconcile the two versions of the bill.

While there are significant differences between the two bills, both contain measures that will decrease the number of taxpayers who are eligible to itemize charitable donations. This is a concern to colleges and universities that depend on gifts to help pay for financial aid and other costs.

The House version contains a provision that would make tuition waivers for graduate students subject to income tax, increasing the tax liability of hundreds of thousands of graduate students.

The House version contains provisions to tax endowments of about 65 private colleges, putting pressure on these schools’ ability to offer financial aid. The House version also would remove the deduction for interest on student loans, the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the corporate deduction for employee education-assistance plans. Together, these provisions intensify the way that social and economic inequalities affect prospective students in anthropology and other disciplines.

The Senate bill does not include these provisions.

AAA has been watching this legislation closely, and  joined its voice with a number of scholarly societies to oppose the House bill before it was passed. But now that the Senate has acted, it is imperative that you let the conferees know how you feel about the House provisions in the final bill.

While we expect the conference committee to play an outsized role in the negotiations, it is important that as many legislators as possible hear from their constituents on this issue.


Alex Barker, AAA President