This article will focus on the provisions of the 1984 and 1986 Acts that most directly affect higher education in an adverse way. While tax legislation in the early 1980s left higher education relatively unscathed, these two acts of the mid- 1980s had major detrimental effects on higher education.

This article will catalog and assess the impact on higher education of several tax law provisions enacted in the mid-1980s. It is the thesis of this article that the individual pieces of legislation are a de facto (and probably unwitting) educational policy that adversely affects higher education. This article will not rehash all of the arguments for or against providing tax incentives for higher education. These have been amply analyzed in prior literature. There appears to be a general social consensus that higher education should be encouraged and that the tax system should not discourage it. Tax incentives for higher education have a long and venerable history. It is an abrupt change from prior practice, therefore, for tax policy to take a turn in precisely the opposite direction.

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