Chang introduces bill to give textbook tax credit to Pell Grant recipients

LANSING — Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) today introduced legislation to provide Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled in a postsecondary institution a tax credit to help defray the cost of their education.

Under current state law, textbooks purchased for use by students in K-12 are exempt from Michigan sales tax. However, that same financial relief is not afforded to students pursuing higher education. 

“Michigan can, and must, do more when it comes to helping students pursue college degrees or career technical education so they can graduate on time, and hopefully with less debt,” Sen. Chang said. “This tax credit will help offset one of many financial barriers that students, and especially low-income students, face when considering the cost of postsecondary education. I am proud to sponsor this legislation.”

Senate Bill 797 would allow Pell Grant-eligible students pursuing a college degree or career technical education to receive an income tax credit equal to the amount of sales and use taxes they pay on purchased or rented textbooks required for class. 

“The rising cost of textbooks is a financial hardship to students,” said Stuart Baum, Wayne State University Student Senate President. “I see many of my peers struggle to complete their degrees due to this and other burdens. Any relief, especially for students with the most need, would go a long way toward undoing this damage.”

Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree. Unlike a loan, it does not have to be repaid, except under certain circumstances.

Baum added, “I am tremendously thankful for Senator Chang’s leadership in fighting to make higher education more accessible to all Michiganders, and I am truly thankful for her collaboration on this student-led initiative.”

The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

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