Bill to offset student debt through tax credit passes Pennsylvania House

Shown is the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in session at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Thursday, June 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Associated Press

March 21, 2024

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — To offset the burden of student debt, employers in Pennsylvania could get a tax credit if they make contributions to their employees’ tuition savings account, under a bill that passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The legislation, which passed unanimously and now goes on to the state Senate, would allow employers to contribute up to $500 to an employee’s tuition savings account annually for a tax credit equal to 25% of the employer’s total contributions.

Tuition savings accounts, like the 529 plan, can be used for educational expenses — like tuition, room and board, books — at K-12 schools, college or career training programs and are meant to lower future borrowing.

Sponsors for the bill say with student debt totaling $1.77 trillion nationally, the legislation would help reduce the financial burden on students.

Pennsylvania ranks nearly last in just about every measure for college affordability. Tuition rates are high, students leave encumbered with more debt and the state gives less to higher education than others.

Employers that make contributions would have to do so equally to all employees who have tuition savings accounts.

The Department of Revenue estimates there are roughly 600,000 tuition savings accounts owned by Pennsylvania employees. The state would see an estimated $65.7 million cost annually, if each eligible account received the maximum contribution.

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CATEGORIES: EDUCATION

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