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Across the country, fraternities and sororities looking to use donations to help construct new buildings or make safety improvements are finding themselves blocked by a major road block, the U.S. tax code.

While colleges and universities are able to use charitable deductions to build and maintain student housing, other not-for-profit student housing groups are not allowed to do the same. 

U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., introduced legislation this week to make the tax system fairer by ending that arbitrary distinction. The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA) would change the tax code so tax-exempt charitable and educational organizations, such as national fraternities and sororities, could use tax-deductible charitable contributions to build, maintain or improve their not-for-profit student housing. 

“Our tax code shouldn’t be randomly discriminating against fraternities, sororities and other educational groups who want to use tax-deductible donations to help them improve their living quarters,” Enzi said. “There is no reason for the government to be standing in the way of these student groups growth. This is a common sense change that will make a world of difference for those affected."

“Nearly half a million college students across the country live in not-for-profit student housing that were constructed prior to the widespread use of water sprinkler systems,” Cardin said. “The enactment of this legislation will address this tax disparity and allow capital-strained not-for-profit student housing to install necessary life safety equipment, expand housing, and improve living conditions for students.”

Other cosponsoring the CHIA legislation include Senators Tom Carper, D-Del., James Risch, R-Idaho., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., John Boozman, R-Ark., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo.