SHRM Supports Tax-free Education Assistance in Capitol Hill Visit

Nov 18, 2010
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SHRM members Mary Hentges of Dubuque, Karen Rieck of Johnston and Molly Williams of Sioux City meet with Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

HR executives encourage Congress to make tax provision a permanent benefit

Washington, D.C. – About 200 members of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) will voice their support for tax-free education assistance during meetings today with members of Congress.

The human resources executives are going to Capitol Hill to share with Congress how a tax provision that encourages employer-provided education assistance makes a difference in the lives of employees and in the competitiveness of American employers.

As co-chair of the Coalition to Preserve Employer Provided Education Assistance, SHRM encourages Congress to make the tax provision permanent.

The provision, Section 127 of the Internal Revenue tax code, will expire on Dec. 31 with Bush-era tax cuts unless Congress takes action. Established in 1978, the provision has been extended by Congress eight times, most recently in 2001.

About one million American workers use the benefit, which allows an employee to exclude from income up to $5,250 a year in employer-provided assistance for undergraduate and graduate-level courses.

With today’s visit to Capitol Hill, SHRM — the world’s largest association representing human resource management with 250,000 members — will have participated in about 400 meetings about Section 127 with congressional members and staff. SHRM members are being joined today by representatives of the coalition, a diverse group of 75 organizations in the education, employer and labor communities.

HR executives are telling their representatives that the tax provision is invaluable at a time when employers face increasing global competition and a shortage of skills in critical areas.

“This benefit helps build and maintain an increasingly skilled workforce and positions our nation to remain competitive in the global economy,” said Kathleen Coulombe, SHRM’s manager of tax and benefits. She noted that the top majors among recipients of tax-free tuition include science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are important to the strength of the U.S. economy.

The number of people receiving the benefit more than doubled between 1992 and 2007, from 431,500 to 913,100. The average recipient is a worker making about $42,700 a year.

While on Capitol Hill, SHRM will support efforts by U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, who introduced the Employee Educational Assistance Act of 2010 (H.R. 5600) to make the provision permanent.

For more information on Section 127, visit the Coalition to Preserve Employer Provided Education Assistance.

For details on the impact of the provision, visit “Who Benefits from Section 127?,” a study by the Society for Human Resource Management and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and SHRM’s Poll: Education Assistance Benefits.

Twitter hashtag: #edbenefit

MEDIA: For more information about employer-provided education assistance, contact Kate Kennedy at and 1-703-535-6260.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at or follow SHRM at

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