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.