The GOP tax plan has taken aim at what is a cornerstone of Iowa values: higher education.

The House bill asks for a 1.5 percent excise tax on higher college endowments, which are used for scholarships and a lot of good both nationally and worldwide (see my alma mater, Grinnell College), and it will tax tuition waivers given to graduate students who serve as teaching assistants or researchers, all the while eliminating the student-loan interest deduction (up to $2,500) and the lifetime learning credit ($2,000). Instead of addressing the problems of the rising cost of college and the concurrent student-loan debt that hurts many graduates, our representatives feel that our best choice is to make it harder for not only Iowans, but all Americans who want to become world leaders in advanced fields to achieve their dreams.

Instead of investing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), we are giving huge maximum tax breaks to wealthy individuals and large corporations while further increasing our deficit by the trillions and punishing our future learners. Our country cannot be great if we do not educate our nation's best and brightest to compete with the rest of the world in these fields.

The current tax bill passed by the House shows that they do not want to prioritize higher education in the way we used to, and that is a shame. As an Iowan, I know how much we say we value education, but now is when we need our voices to be heard. - James Schueller, Sioux City

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