Especially now that the Tax and Jobs Act has eliminated all itemized deductions for individuals until 2026 and simultaneously cut the corporate and other business organization tax rates by more than 10%, employers should most definitely be encouraged to provide these kind of tax free benefits to employees and deduct those expenses from their own tax liabilities.
Personally, i work for a company who is rapidly closing offices and, rather than cutting jobs, moving these employees to status as remote employees. All of us (more than 10,000) make valuable contributions to our company, but have wholly absorbed the costs that the corporation has eliminated from its expenses. We’ve updated our personal internet speeds, and set aside dedicated home office spaces that are equipped to have high bandwidth 10-20 person conferences without background distractions, and we cannot write off these expenses as employees. That is unfortunate but it is just how it is. Changing this won’t pay back to the community like employer pay-back of student loans.
Student loans are similarly beneficial to a company. This benefit can make a company competitive as an employer, encouraging and rewarding employees for getting their education. There is no doubt in my mind that offering this tax free perk would be beneficial to the financial system and pose NO HARM to educational institutions. If institutions choose to then raise tuition as a result (just like health insurance and hospitals did as a result of employer subsidized health insurance), then that is their moral choice. I would look down upon that trend. I personally believe that the legislature should get ahead of such a problem, by capping the price of tuition cost for any institution at a reasonable number ($55,000 - that should be enough for a private educational institution to live on) as well as cap the tax free benefit to match that number, in order to avoid the “Cadillac” plan of education benefits, while still encouraging students from EVERY ECONOMIC BACKGROUND to go for their college and graduate school degrees. It is not only good for the financial institutions but will go a long way in creating income equality or at least equality of opportunity for all communities. It gives incentive to communities to demand high quality public education for grade school and high school students so that those kids can be ready to enter into higher education and prepare for the work force immediately. It will make that dream achievable rather than make education a decision that can now be viewed as “irresponsible” for people who have less resources. Work study student aid should also become prevalent. I highly support this proposition. It has no “welfare state” implications and appropriately spreads the cost of education among the primary beneficiaries of that education - the student and the employers.