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Rich College Donors' Big Tax Break Is Suddenly in Danger

  • Congressman wants money to flow toward aid for middle class
  • Wealthy colleges may see less funds for the arts and medicine
Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
Photographer: David Madison/Getty Images

Software billionaire Lawrence Ellison is giving $200 million to the University of Southern California for a cancer-research center. Financial planning guru Ric Edelman pledged $25 million to Rowan University for expanding a marine fossil park. Private-jet mogul Kenn Ricci bestowed $5 million on Notre Dame’s marching band.

As these 2016 commitments attest, the super-rich often slim their tax bills by swelling the coffers of their alma maters through donations for pet projects. Now, under a tax overhaul in Washington, the tax benefits of such gifts could be curtailed. That prospect is alarming the ranks of the .01 percent and their favorite charities.