I have been involved with higher education for years. For me, it is dismaying to see the many provisions in the bill showing the House GOP’s hate for the educated.
The bill’s higher education measures could cost students and families more than $71 billion over the next decade. And that’s just the direct costs.
What did the House Republicans do?
House Republicans Gut Higher Education
In my view, three things in this bill are particularly harmful to higher education.
First, the House Bill eliminates the student loan interest deduction. Nearly a third of Americans with student loans take this deduction. This deduction comes in handy when you start a job and are not making much money.
Second, the bill proposes to tax graduate student tuition waivers as income. Consequently, graduate student assistants may have to pay taxes on $30,000-40,000+ of income they never see in their pockets!
Third, the House Republicans want to tax tuition assistance provided by employers. Without this assistance, many talented people would not work in higher education.
All of this got me thinking. Why do House Republicans hate higher education?
House Republicans: FYIGM
To put it bluntly, the House Republicans are practicing FYIGYM — “Forget You, I Got Mine.” (If you want, you can replace the “Forget” with the less-polite term).
In the 115th Congress, more Republican Representatives went to public institutions than Democratic Representatives.
To quote a campus police officer I knew, the Republicans “sucked at the public teat.” And they continue to suck it.
These Republicans love to preach about education as a way of upward mobility. By denying others the opportunity they had, their actions belie their words.
House Republicans Hate Critical Thinkers
College education helps to hone critical thinking skills. As a college graduate, you are supposed to learn to question fact-challenged statements.
Apparently, such trained critical thinkers would not be healthy for House Republicans.
After all, three-fourths of these Republicans represent districts where the number of white adults with a college degree lags below the national average.
Further, Republicans hate the critical thinkers in the media and academia who tear apart their stupid policies. Of course, most in media and academia are products of college education.
There is yet another group in higher education that many in the House GOP want to discourage. These are the international students at universities and colleges.
House Republicans Hate International Students
We all know many in the GOP are not fond of international students. The education measures, particularly the ones against graduate education, are a way for the Republicans to make US graduate schools uncompetitive.
Without international students, US higher education would be shattered. In many scientific fields, most graduate students are from other countries. These students perform vital teaching and research tasks.
During and after their studies, many international students contribute to innovation. These students are responsible for much of US technological leadership.
Hopefully, House Republicans’ education measures will not be adopted by the Senate.