AICUM Blog
Statement from the Board of Directors, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, on the Recent Executive Order Concerning Immigration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2017

 

Statement from the Board of Directors, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, on the Recent Executive Order Concerning Immigration

 

As leaders of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), we voice our deep concern with the Administration’s Executive Order introducing severe travel restrictions to the United States that impact members of our college communities.

 

This executive order has caused understandable confusion and concern both on our campuses and internationally. This order impacts our students, our faculty, our alumni and partners throughout the world. It also poses a risk to our Commonwealth’s knowledge based economy which relies on and benefits from a highly talented international student and researcher community.

 

Massachusetts has a well-earned reputation as a beacon of freedom and education for people around the world. This executive order represents an affront to the free exchange of ideas, scientific discovery, religious freedom, and democratic principles which are the touchstone of our colleges and universities.

 

Now is the time to reaffirm those values of American higher education and embrace our global community.

 

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) was founded by independent college presidents and today comprises 58 degree-granting, accredited independent colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. It is the leading voice on public policy matters affecting independent colleges and universities in Massachusetts. AICUM plays a critical role in advocating for college affordability, including state and federal funding for need-based student financial aid, federal research support and addressing state and Federal legislative and regulatory issues.

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AICUM Recognizes Governor Baker and State Senator Donoghue for Leadership on New College Savings Incentive

At its 12th Annual Dinner, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) celebrated the Commonwealth’s new 529 College Savings Plan incentive for families which was passed by the Legislature this past summer. Governor Charlie Baker received AICUM’s “Committed to Access” Award for advancing 529s as part of his Economic Development bill and State Senator Eileen Donoghue, the legislative sponsor of the 529 provision, delivered keynote remarks. A video testimonial on the story of the 529 legislations can be seen on YouTube, here.

 

The 2016 Annual Dinner was the largest in AICUM’s history with over 400 attendees, including 31 college and university presidents, and Massachusetts Education Secretary Jim Peyser.

 

“I am deeply grateful for the award by AICUM and thank them for their leadership and voice in representing private independent colleges and universities throughout the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “In Massachusetts we are proud to have an exceptional mix of world-renowned public and private institutions that we value greatly.”

 

“Providing Massachusetts families with a new incentive to save for education took enormous leadership and commitment from our state leaders,” said AICUM President Richard Doherty. “Our dinner, with nearly all our 58 colleges and universities in attendance, was the ideal venue to give a special honor to Governor Baker and Senator Donoghue for their hard work in moving this legislation forward. College savings tax incentives are proven to encourage families to start saving earlier and more frequently for their children’s education. We are also very grateful to Senate President Stan Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senator Michael Rodrigues, Representative Jay Kaufman and Representative Joseph Wagner for their critical leadership and support in bringing 529s to Massachusetts.”

 

“AICUM has been a tireless advocate for Massachusetts students and their families, and I’m proud that my legislative colleagues and I were able to work with AICUM to make this college savings tax incentive a reality,” said Sen. Eileen Donoghue. “Working families face tight budgets, so saving for college can be difficult. This deduction is a tool that will help them send their kids to college to receive a degree and a brighter future, rather than a crushing mountain of debt.”

 

The 529 College Savings provision of the Economic Development Bill signed into law by Governor Baker in August establishes a new tax incentive for a prepaid tuition or college savings program established by the state. Single filers will be able to deduct $1,000 while married people filing jointly can deduct up to $2,000.

 

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STATEMENT: AICUM Applauds Passage of Economic Development Legislation that Includes Key College Savings Incentive

 

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) applauds Sunday’s passage of an economic development bill that includes the creation of a tax deduction for a key college savings program. A provision in the bill creates a tax incentive to encourage families to save for higher education through contributions to qualified college savings plans, known as 529s.

 
Low and middle-income families stand to benefit as this tax deduction for the popular college savings provision becomes law. According to a recent study, 72 percent of households nationwide participating in 529 savings programs make less than $150,000 a year. A recent MassInsight survey, conducted by Opinion Dynamics, demonstrated that 76 percent of Massachusetts respondents would support a tax deduction for contributions to college savings plans. By implementing this provision, Massachusetts will join the vast majority of income tax states in using these incentives to help families save for the future.

 

Following the economic development bill’s passage, AICUM president Richard Doherty released the below statement:

 
“Through the creation of this college savings tax incentive, House and Senate members have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to helping Massachusetts families save for the future. College savings tax incentives open doors for children growing up in low and middle income families, as they are proven to encourage families to start saving earlier and more frequently for their children’s education.

 
Aside from the countless benefits that college savings incentives have for students looking to attend college and graduate with manageable loans, these incentives also benefit our entire economy. Everyone wins when students can attend college and invest more of their post-college earnings back into the economy. Passing an economic development bill that includes college savings incentives is one of the best ways the legislature could have helped Massachusetts families now and in the future. I want to especially thank Senate President Stan Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senator Eileen Donoghue, and Representative Joseph Wagner for their leadership in promoting this incentive and recognizing its impact on continued economic development in the Commonwealth.”

 
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The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) was founded by independent college presidents and today comprises 58 degree-granting, accredited independent colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. It is the leading voice on public policy matters affecting independent colleges and universities in Massachusetts. AICUM plays a critical role in advocating for college affordability, including state and federal funding for need-based student financial aid, federal research support and addressing state and Federal legislative and regulatory issues.

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Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) Applauds Economic Development Legislation for Inclusion of Key College Savings Provision

An economic development bill released by the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies today includes a measure to incentivize families to save for college.

 
The bill is the Committee’s redraft of an economic development bill filed by Governor Baker in January.

 
The college savings proposal would offer Massachusetts families a state tax deduction on contributions made to college savings plans, such as 529s, to incentivize saving for future college expenses.

 
College savings tax incentives are offered by the vast majority of income-tax states. Massachusetts is one of only eight income-tax states currently not offering this college-savings tool to the low and middle-income families that can benefit from it. According to a recent study, 72 percent of households nationwide participating in 529 savings programs make less than $150,000 a year. A recent MassInsight survey, conducted by Opinion Dynamics, demonstrated that 76 percent of Massachusetts respondents would support a tax deduction for contributions to college savings plans.

 
Following the bill’s unveiling by the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, AICUM president Richard Doherty released the below statement:

 
“We are thrilled that Chairwoman Eileen Donoghue, Chairman Joseph Wagner and their colleagues on the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies are promoting this proven college savings incentive. As a state known for the quality of its higher education, Massachusetts should be leading the way when it comes to college affordability and the college savings tools that we offer our low and middle-income families.

 
Not only are college savings tax incentives the right thing to do for students and families, but the whole state benefits when students graduate with manageable student loans and are able to invest more of their post-college earnings back into the economy. The economic development impact of 529 college savings incentives are proven. They encourage families to start saving earlier and more often, and children are far more likely to attend college knowing that their family is saving for their college education. We applaud this effort to offer an important college savings tool to low and middle-income families, and we are hopeful that the proposal comes to fruition.”

 
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The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) was founded by independent college presidents and today comprises 58 degree-granting, accredited independent colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. It is the leading voice on public policy matters affecting independent colleges and universities in Massachusetts. AICUM plays a critical role in advocating for college affordability, including state and federal funding for need-based student financial aid, federal research support and addressing state and Federal legislative and regulatory issues.

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AICUM Featured on NECN’s DC Dialogue

AICUM President Richard Doherty joined NECN’s DC Dialogue hosts Eileen Curran and New England Council President Jim Brett last week to discuss college affordability and the economic impact of commencement season.  Among the topics discussed, Rich provided comment on the upcoming commencement season, legislation pending in the Massachusetts Legislature to provide a tax deduction to families saving for college, important tax benefits made permanent by Congress, and the benefits of a gap year before college.

 

Check out the video below and let us know your thoughts on the issues!

 

 

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Business Community Offers Support for 529 Legislation

A broad coalition of business groups and chambers of commerce joined AICUM in sending a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey supporting legislation to create a state tax deduction for contributions that Massachusetts families make to their 529 college savings plans.

 

AICUM was joined on the letter by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, South Shore Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Massachusetts High Technology Council; and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

 

A copy of the joint letter can be view here.

 

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State House News Covers 529 Legislation Momentum

This morning, the State House News Service published an article detailing legislation that emerged last month from the Joint Committee on Revenue that creates a tax deduction for families saving for college in Massachusetts.

 

AICUM has long supported a state-level college savings tax incentive that helps families save for their children’s futures. The vast majority of income tax-levying states offer such incentives – and Massachusetts is one of only eight outliers.

 

We are hopeful that the Legislature continues this momentum for the betterment of families across the state.

 

State House News Service:

Supporters See Favorable Conditions to Pass College Savings Tax Incentive

By Michael Norton

 

In the closing days of the 2014 race for governor, Charlie Baker was asked during a televised debate which of Martha Coakley’s campaign ideas he wished was his first. He replied that it was a college tuition savings tax deduction.

 

It’s still a long way from his desk in the State House’s Corner Office, but a bill targeting the college affordability crisis by delivering a new incentive for families to save has cleared committee with a unanimous bipartisan stamp of approval and comes this year with a new plan to cover most of its costs to the state.

 

The idea is also paired with favorable polling. In an October 2015 MassInsight survey conducted by Opinion Dynamics, 76 percent of respondents strongly or somewhat favored a new income tax deduction for college savings accounts, with 24 percent somewhat or strongly opposed.

 

Supporters of the bill (S 1468) say 42 states have income taxes and Massachusetts is among only eight of those states that do not have a tax incentive to encourage families to make contributions into a college savings program, sometimes known as 529 plans. As a result, contributions must be made with after-tax income and, according to the bill’s sponsor Lowell Democrat Sen. Eileen Donoghue, many families with plans don’t contribute, nullifying their value.

 

The redrafted bill endorsed by the Legislature’s Committee on Revenue on a 12-0 vote features a $1,000 annual deduction for single filers and a $2,000 deduction for joint filers, down substantially from $5,000 and $10,000 limits featured in Donoghue’s original bill.

 

Using the $1,000 and $2,000 thresholds, the bill would cost state government about $8.2 million, but it includes language limiting an existing tax deduction for college tuition payments to Massachusetts residents only. That move would offset all but about $1.2 million in costs while helping families to start saving earlier for college, supporters said.

 

According to the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM), tax deductions for contributions to college savings accounts range from $500 to $1,000 in Rhode Island and $2,500 to $5,000 in North Carolina to $5,000 to $10,000 in Connecticut and New York and $10,000 to $20,000 in Illinois and Oklahoma.

 

The bill’s largest obstacle may be the Legislature’s recent aversion to embarking on tax policy debates. Aside from expanding the state’s earned income tax credit, Beacon Hill lawmakers and Gov. Baker have not teamed up on major tax policy changes since Baker took office in January 2015. Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo ruled out new or higher taxes in this spring’s state budget deliberations.

 

But like Donoghue, Revenue Committee Co-chairman Sen. Michael Rodrigues said the college savings deduction may draw support this session because it addresses a problem that’s attracted increasing national attention and helps many families who the senators said are often not often the beneficiaries of tax policy changes.

 

“This is one I think that does make the most sense,” Rodrigues told the News Service, adding, “It really helps the middle class and they found a way to pay for it.”

 

According to AICUM, the personal income tax college tuition deduction allows for a deduction for tuition payments to a two- or four-year college if tuition costs exceed 25 percent of the filer’s Massachusetts adjusted gross income. The deduction is open to anyone who derives Massachusetts income, resident or non-resident, and is not limited to payments to colleges or universities in Massachusetts.

 

Nearly 13 percent of the deduction’s claimants in tax year 2013 were from out of state, according to a Department of Revenue analysis sought by supporters of the college savings deduction bill. The tuition deduction’s overall cost to the state rose to $54.2 million in fiscal 2016, up from $35.9 million in fiscal 2013.

 

The bill authorizes the college savings tax deduction starting in 2017 and the deductions would expire after 2021 unless reauthorized by lawmakers. In states with similar deductions, they are largely claimed by families earning $150,000 or less per year, Donoghue said.

 

“This is a solid benefit for the middle class and I think there are very few out there for the middle class, to be candid,” Donoghue said. “I do think people are more aware of the student debt crisis. This is one way to incentivize savings earlier on.”

 

According to AICUM, Vermont introduced a $2,500 tax incentive in 2006 and immediately saw a 34 percent increase in the number of families creating college savings accounts. Apart from New Hampshire, which doesn’t have an income tax, all of the states surrounding Massachusetts offer a college savings tax deduction.

 

“College savings programs have proven to be an essential piece of the college affordability puzzle, and it’s time that Massachusetts catches up with the rest of the country in trying to help families save for their children’s futures,” AICUM President Richard Doherty said in a statement after the bill was endorsed by the Revenue Committee.

 

The college savings tax deduction bill was formerly sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Brian Dempsey, whose panel has custody of the bill’s latest version.

 

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is scheduled Thursday to participate in a forum organized by AICUM for legislators to hear from college students benefiting from need-based college aid funding.

 

It’s the first time the bill has received a favorable Revenue Committee report, and supporters also see it as a way to deliver on the independent recommendations of the Subcommittee on Student Loan and Debt and the Special Commission on Educational Scholarships.

 

Unlike some other legislative committees, the Revenue Committee released a breakdown of how its members voted on the bill. Voting in favor of the legislation were Rodrigues and Sens. James Timilty, Eric Lesser, Ryan Fattman and Reps. Jay Kaufman, Thomas Stanley, Denise Provost, James Dwyer, Alan Silvia, Randy Hunt and Shawn Dooley

 

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AICUM Members Give Back to Veterans and their Families

Happy Veterans Day!

 

As we honor the men and women who have selflessly served our country, it’s important to recognize the important role of colleges and universities when it comes to serving veterans, active service-members and their families. AICUM is proud of the efforts so many of our members have undertaken to do their part.

 

Today, Northeastern University opened its Center for Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers, which will offer a wealth of services and benefits to student veterans.  Through the center, veteran students will engage in tailored experiential learning programs and career resources that leverage their unique competencies and military experiences.  At the same time, veteran students will be exposed to mentorship opportunities and provided assistance as they transition to civilian life.

 

This month, Endicott College launched the VITAL partnership, recognizing that veterans face unique challenges in transitioning from service-member to student. Through this program, students receive counseling, mentors and tutors, and support with time management, organization, study skills and more. They are also enrolled in the Bedford Veterans Affairs Medical Center and offered assistance with obtaining veterans’ benefits and vocational rehabilitation.

 

Also launched this fall at Gordon College’s Children of Fallen Patriots scholarship offered to children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. Connecting with military families is also a top goal at Wheelock College, which established the Wheelock Center of Excellence for Military Children and Families in collaboration with the Massachusetts National Guard and the Military Child Education Coalition® to connect military families with available resources. The college is also in its second year of offering a certificate in military counseling.

 

The Emerson College community is out and about in Boston on Veterans Day, lending a helping hand as part of its Emerson Action Day. From 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., staff, faculty and students are volunteering at a number of sites including the Haley House, Citizen Schools and ReVision Urban Farm, among others.

 

These are only a few of the impressive efforts launched by our members across Massachusetts. We are proud of the commitment these institutions have shown to not only helping their communities, but helping those who have served our country.

 

Happy Veterans Day from AICUM and its members, and thank you for your service! 

 

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11th Annual AICUM Dinner

Please join us for the 11th Annual AICUM Dinner!

 

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This year we are celebrating the success of our graduates and the contributions of our colleges and universities to the innovation economy in the Commonwealth.

 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reception: 5:30pm

Dinner and Program: 7:00pm

Location: Seaport Hotel, Boston

 

AICUM Committed to Action Award
The Honorable Katherine Clark
United States House of Representatives

 

AICUM Committed to Access Award
The Honorable Brian S. Dempsey
Massachusetts House of Representatives

 

For more information including ticket sales and Sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kaitlyn Rodriguez, Vice President of Administration and Member Relations at 617-742-5147 ext. 4 or at Kaitlyn.Rodriguez@aicum.org

 

We very much look forward to and appreciate your participation in what promises to be an exciting and memorable evening.

 

Sponsorship Options: Click here.

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AICUM October Facts of the Month

Lowest Default Rate in the Nation

Did You Know?

Massachusetts has the lowest student loan default rate in the country at 6.4%.

 

AICUM colleges and universities lead the way with a student loan default rate of 3.74%.

 

Massachusetts Student Loan Default Rates by Sector

Default Rates

Source: United States Department of Education; 2012 Cohort Default Rates; released 9/30/2015

Did You Know?

  • In FY15, AICUM colleges awarded over $560 million in institutional grants and scholarships to Massachusetts residents.  This need-based aid allows students to borrow less, resulting in more manageable repayment upon graduation.
  • AICUM members are committed to helping students and alumni manage their debt.  Many campuses employ programs like SALT, offered by American Student Assistance, to provide free guidance and counseling to student and alumni on loan management.
  • Massachusetts private colleges lead the nation in graduating students on-time (68.3 percent graduate within 4 years).  This reduces the total cost to students and allows them to enter the workforce faster.
  • New England places a tremendous value on a college degree.  AICUM graduates are able to find good paying jobs quickly upon graduation, which enables them to manage their debt payments more easily.

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