TAX RELIEF EXTENSION RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2005
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Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I offer this motion to instruct with regard to the college tuition deduction. As I have noted on other occasions, this bill is really a ``tax increase prevention'' bill. One of the many important elements is the college tuition deduction. This provision was established in the 2001 tax relief bill and provides an above-the-line deduction for higher education expenses, commonly called the ``college tuition deduction.'' The eligibility for the deduction is limited based on income and is aimed at helping middle-class American families that are struggling to meet the rising cost of college tuition. It benefits students and their families at all types of institutions--from community colleges to 4-year schools, and both public and private institutions.
However, because we have had to slow-walk this bill with some foot-dragging across the aisle, this deduction expired on December 31, 2005. Nonetheless, it is important that we not only extend this provision, but make it permanent. The college tuition deduction is an important and popular education tax benefit, particularly for the middle class. It is not available to taxpayers with income above $80,000--$160,000 in the case of joint returns.
In 2003--the last year for which official data are available--more than 3 1/2 million Americans benefited from the tuition deduction, with nearly $7 billion in college tuition costs covered by the deduction--an increase of nearly 9 percent from the previous year. Tax incentives for college tuition helped nearly 11 million Americans realize the dream of a college degree. This represents more than two-thirds of all college students. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, over 150,000 families and students took advantage of this deduction. The tuition deduction is a crucial part of our education tax incentives and must be made permanent. We should send the message to parents of high school students that this deduction will be there when their students begin college.
I urge my colleagues to support this motion and support these families and students striving for a college education.