The overhaul of the tax system passed previous to Christmas experienced an unanticipated snag hours after House lawmakers finished celebrating their historic vote. Several items went out of Senate procedural rules which required them to be pulled from the bill prior to final approval- one of which affected homeschool families.
Under the bill, 529 educational savings accounts were expanded to include private K-12 schooling. Homeschool expenses were also attempted to be included in the bill, which is what the Home School Legal Defense Association actively lobbied for since 2000.
The procedural bump eventually killed the provision, as the vote put every single Democrat in the Senate as opposing the tax break for homeschoolers. This places a damper on the hope of getting this bill passed in the near future. However, Representative Luke Messer, R-Ind, plans to submit a bill in the house which he does every year, and Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has offered to sponsor a measure in the upper chamber. Although it seems somewhat hopeful, most say that it will be a long, tough road ahead.
Although most homeschoolers welcomed the tax advantages that were being offered, not every school choice advocate supported the change. The benefits apparently only applied to families who had sizeable finances set aside making 529 a plan for the wealthy. Parents who were able to put aside smaller amounts of money monthly to save for college are still able to do so, and will reap rewards over time.
Additionally, expanding the plan may backfire as private schools may view the savings as found money and raise tuition to take a proportion/all of the money available. Wealthy families may be able to pay more, but families that don’t have as much income may be priced out. Also, families saving for college whose children need financial assistance to attend a private school may see scholarships cut.
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