Press Releases

Boozman Joins Efforts to Protect Work College Scholarships

Ecclesia College in Springdale is One of Seven Work Colleges in U.S.

Feb 06 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce legislation that would clarify and make permanent a tax exemption for Work College scholarships that would help schools and their students avoid unnecessary legal and accounting costs.

“Work Colleges are a commonsense approach to providing higher education while reducing the cost of college for students. Arkansas’s Ecclesia College offers students an opportunity to earn a four-year-degree while gaining real world experience to be successful in the workforce. We need to take the necessary steps to protect these colleges and ensure their students continue to get the scholarships they work for and need to pay for school,” Boozman said.

"This is great news for our students. This bill removes unnecessary burden from multiple angles. It is more efficient for students, Work College business offices, and also the tax payers of America. We are most grateful for Senator Boozman's leadership on this important bill,” Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III said.

Current tax provisions create an unnecessary burden on Work Colleges and student scholarships. In 1986, the Tax Reform Act erroneously eliminated a specific tax protection for scholarships awarded by Work Colleges. While the IRS has continued to exempt these scholarships from taxation, because of the confusion in the tax code, Work Colleges face costly audits over the tax treatment of scholarships, and there is no guarantee the exemption will continue to be honored in the future. The Work Colleges Relief Act would amend Section 117(c)(2) of the tax code to make the exemption permanent, and would treat credits and payments as scholarship aid instead of wages. 

Ecclesia College in Springdale is one of seven Work Colleges nationwide. Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Vermont and North Carolina are home to the other six schools. Work Colleges, authorized by the Higher Education Act, are private institutions at which work is an integrated and required component of educational programs, and whose enrollments range around 300-1,600 students per year. Altogether, our nation's Work Colleges provide educational opportunities to more than 5,000 students every year.

The Work Colleges Relief Act, S. 376, was introduced by Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and cosponsored by Boozman along with Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).