Dem senator announces bill in response to college admissions cheating scandal

Dem senator announces bill in response to college admissions cheating scandal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenNew Alzheimer's drug sparks backlash over FDA, pricing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain Senate panel advances nominations for key Treasury positions MORE (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, announced Wednesday he will introduce legislation that ends tax breaks for contributions to colleges and universities before or during enrollment of the donor’s child.

The announcement comes a day after more than 40 people were charged in a college admissions scam where parents allegedly bribed coaches to recruit students for athletic programs or paid people to help cheat on college entrance exams.


“Yesterday's headlines about the wealthiest Americans buying access to our elite colleges and universities is just a new version of an old story,” Wyden said in a statement. “The federal government shouldn’t be perpetuating this system by awarding tax breaks to these contributions, contributions that return to the donor a benefit of inestimable value.”

“This is yet another example of how the tax code helps the wealthiest Americans get even further ahead, and I will soon be introducing legislation that would end the tax break for donations made to schools before or during the enrollment of children of the donor’s family," he added. "Middle-class families don’t have access to this back door for their children. If the wealthy want to grease the skids, they shouldn’t be able to do so at the expense of American taxpayers.” 

The Internal Revenue Service allows people to claim deductions to nonprofit colleges and universities.

Felicity Huffman, who appeared in the hit show “Desparate Housewives,” and Lori Loughlin, who starred in “Full House,” were ensnared in the college admissions scandal, raising the scam’s profile.

Wyden’s announcement comes as Democrats running for president in 2020 debate policies intended to increase college affordability, including free public colleges and universities and debt-free institutions.