Crain's Detroit Op-Ed: Matt Roling on how a modest change could help ease student-loan debt crisis

Matthew Roling, accounting department chair in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University wrote an op-ed about the current student-loan situation. “Since 2008, the level of student loans in the U.S. has more than doubled. In Michigan alone, the amount of student debt has soared from $20 billion in 2008 to over $45 billion in 2018. If this crisis is not dealt with, the impact of it may cast a pall over our economy for years to come. There is a middle ground that I believe could create a win-win-win outcome for employers, employees and the federal government. Similar to our current tax treatment for health care insurance benefits, the IRS should treat employer repayment of student loan debt in the same fashion — exempt from Social Security, Medicare and/or other federal income taxes. This would allow employers the freedom to structure repayment programs that align with their employee retention goals and allow employees the opportunity to tackle student loan debt without fear of the tax man. We, the taxpayers, would see substantial benefits from fewer loan defaults and the collective economic effect of an entire generation with more disposable income.”

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