U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) today introduced a Senate companion version of the Communities Committed to College Tax Credit Act of 2012, which U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) introduced in the House of Representatives on Monday. The legislation is designed to help spur private investment in scholarship-funding trusts to make higher education more accessible and affordable for generations of Americans.
"We have to think outside the box and find new ways to help our students access and afford the education and training they need after high school to succeed in today's global economy," Senator Coons said. "As Tax Day is upon us, Americans across the country are receiving tax credits for supporting all kinds of charitable causes. It has been a pleasure working with Congressman Fattah to develop new tax credits that will spark private investment in higher education scholarships."
In advance of Tax Day, Representative Fattah introduced a House version of the Communities Committed to College Tax Credit Act of 2012. Senator Coons introduced a companion version in the Senate on Tuesday to provide new tax incentives that will encourage private donors to support and sustain these kinds of educational trusts as part of their charitable giving.
This bill creates a 50% tax credit for contributions to qualifying scholarship-funding trusts. There is a $1 billion limit on credits that can be distributed and no trust can receive more than $200 million. Income from these trusts may be used only to provide college scholarships to students who have demonstrated financial need. The trusts established in conjunction with this legislation have the potential to last for generations, fueling a new resource for Americans of all income levels to access and afford higher education.
"The CORE Scholarship Trust, Kalamazoo Promise and Pittsburgh Promise are prime examples of what can happen when individuals invest in students from their communities to provide needed resources for college," Rep. Fattah said. "By promising to provide funds upon high school graduation, these programs are developing college-going cultures that nurture students whose college days are still years away. We are providing an avenue for directing local dollars toward the education of local students and that's a win-win for all involved."
With programs like the CORE Philly Scholarship Trust, Kalamazoo (Michigan) Promise and Pittsburgh Promise, communities across the country are coming together to provide local students the resources they need to access and afford higher education. In addition to transforming individual students into college graduates, these programs are also contributing to a broader culture of higher education that will influence young students to start planning for their college education early.