November 13, 2017

Dear Members of Congress,

On behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), I urge you to carefully consider how various tax code revisions might have a long-lasting and negative impact on America's global competitiveness.

It is our understanding that current tax code revisions moving through the House of Representatives would eliminate individual deductions for college tuition, interest, and other educational expenses. This change to current policy will have a stifling effect on our nation's ability to recruit and retain scientists. A significant percentage of scientific careers require post-graduate education, which might entail a certificate, masters, or doctoral degree. These degrees are only possible for some students with the assistance of student loans and tuition waivers. Without this support, many students cannot afford to pursue graduate study.

Moreover, the House proposal would increase the tax burden for graduate students who receive tuition waivers. Under H.R. 1, such waivers would be taxed as income, even though students do not directly receive the money. This provision will immediately discourage students from pursuing the advanced education required for most science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

These proposals will discourage or prevent our best and brightest from pursuing the education and training required to drive innovation and stimulate the development of new markets. Please reject this provision to prevent the United States from further losing ground to our global competitors.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a scientific organization with more than 130 institutional members with a combined individual membership of more than 200,000 individual scientists and science educators.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if we may be of assistance to you in your efforts.

Sincerely,

Robert Gropp, Ph.D.
Co-Executive Director

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