Tax break for Iowa graduates

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Throughout the past three years, Governor Vilsack and I often have spoken to young people across the state. Our goal is to encourage them to stay in Iowa after they graduate, to begin their careers and their families here.

Though it's understandable that young people want to experience the world after they graduate, we want to ensure that they know what it is they are leaving - so that even if they do go somewhere else first, they leave wanting

to return to Iowa.

Too often, our best and brightest slip away without realizing what they have in their own backyard. Currently, in fact, 60 percent of our Regents' university graduates leave the state. About one-third of the graduates of all colleges combined leave the state. Iowa has a projected shortage of

100,000 college-educated workers in the decade ahead.

So it only makes sense that Iowa make every effort to aggressively attract and retain our graduates to in turn keep strong businesses here and attract others. It's critical for the economic viability of our state, and to maintain our fine quality of life, that we work to slow the current "brain drain."

Students preparing to go to college today face greater challenges, because they are facing rising tuition costs. We want to help offset this burden to students and their families, even as we encourage more graduates to stay in Iowa.

That's why this week, the Governor and I have been visiting college campuses across the state, to talk to students about our proposed tax credit for college graduates. Students who graduate from a college in Iowa - whether

a two-year or four-year college, public or private - and then stay and work in Iowa will be eligible for the tax reprieve. Specifically, graduates of a

four-year college in Iowa will be eligible for a $600 credit each year for 10 years, for a total of $6,000. Students who graduate from community

college with associates of arts, science or applied science degrees will be eligible for a $200 per year credit for a total of $2,000 over 10 years.

The total credit is equal to almost 100 percent of tuition costs for community college graduates, 50 percent of the tuition costs for Iowa public

universities, and 20 percent of the costs of tuition at a private, four-year college.

Getting a break on taxes once they graduate can help young people pay off their student loans more quickly.

I believe this student tax credit will be a catalyst for growth in Iowa by addressing two challenges. It helps students and families offset the

burden of increasing tuition costs. And it helps our state retain the best and brightest.

With young people staying, our economy gets stronger, our communities have greater vitality, and businesses and neighborhoods are strengthened.