Tax Bill Negatively Impacts Berea

Berea College was thrust into the national media spotlight when Congress voted to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act today. The bill includes a proposed 1.4 percent excise tax on college endowment earnings in excess of $500,000 per student at colleges that enroll more than 500 students. As the bill was being finalized, President Roelofs worked with the Kentucky congressional delegation to include the phrase “tuition-paying” to shield Berea’s endowment from the excise tax. Just before the Senate vote, that language was removed from the bill.

Berea College President Lyle Roelofs released the following statement to Chronicle of Higher Education:

“We are very disappointed with the latest developments on the Hill. Berea College uses its entire endowment to educate students who could not otherwise afford to attend college, serving them on a no-tuition basis.  We agree that there needs to be incentives for schools to make higher education accessible to all students, but it seems so unfortunate that the political strife over tax reform in our country will result in greater difficulty for colleges seeking to serve low-income students.”

Several other local and national news outlets are covering this story. Here are few highlights.

Categories: News, Places
Tags: Dr. Lyle Roelofs, Politics

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.