Thursday, March 09, 2006

The governor of Illinois has proposed a new tax credit for Illinois college students.  I, of course, have not read the proposed law.  The Peoria Journal Star in an article on page A9 on 3/9/2006 states the following: “Blagojevich also appeared at Bradley University to rally support for his proposal for a tax break for college students who make good grades.  Parents of college students, or students paying their own way, would be able to apply for the $1,000 tuition tax credit by maintaining a B average.  It would apply to private and public university students.”  I believe I read elsewhere that the credit would be for the freshman and sophomore years of college.  Also, I believe the proposal states that if the taxes owed are less that $1,000,
then the state government would refund to the individual(s) who filed the tax return the remainder of the tuition up to the full $1,000.

I have a few questions in relation to this proposal.  It is my understanding that once a person becomes an adult (18) his grades can not be provided to the parents because of federal privacy laws.  Therefore, if this is true, how are parents going to know for certain whether or not their adult child has a B average?  How is the State of Illinois going to know if the B average claimed is in fact a B average?  

Is this proposal going to lead to more cheating in college as students attempt to maintain a B average?  Is the college or university going to increase grade inflation to insure that their students have a B average so that they can benefit from the college tax credit?  Will the colleges be pressured into providing more B’s and A’s to insure that students don’t leave their school in search of an easier college to maintain the B average requirement?  Will the work required in one college for a B average become the standard for all colleges because of the fear of losing students to easier schools?  Is a B average in one school equivalent to a B average in all schools?

This seems strange.  The State of Illinois is a provider of the product of education.  The State of Illinois is in competition will private universities in the state for qualified students.  The State of Illinois is now proposing a law that will benefit those private colleges and universities that are in competition with the state’s public universities.  Will this law decrease the number of students who attend the public universities of this state?  Would it not be wiser for the State of Illinois to decrease the cost of tuition in the public universities rather than giving a tax credit to every family who sends a child to any university in the state—be it public or private.  Do you as a citizen of the state want to provide a $1,000 tax credit to a family who earns one million dollars a year?

Is this a reasonable, logical, valid proposal?  



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