I may have to drop out: Graduate students take on tax bill

Republicans Are Right to Reform Higher Ed's Tax Breaks

IU President McRobbie shares statement on proposed tax reform legislation with University Faculty Council

The Campaign to Organize Graduate Students and University of Iowa students and faculty members gathered on the Pentacrest to protest the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Wednesday.

A provision in the House version of the federal tax bill would treat the tuition waivers graduate students receive for teaching classes or doing research as taxable income. The House version of the tax bill, passed this month, would repeal a decades-old provision that has shielded graduate tuition from taxation, potentially increasing student tax bills by as much as $10,000 a year.

Sam Kohn, a campus graduate student in physics, announced to the crowd the phone numbers for the offices of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, encouraging demonstrators to call for the Senate to stop normal business until the Republican tax bill is "dead". Though the measures affecting higher education are not included in the Senate bill, there is no promise that they will not be added during the reconciliation phase with the House bill. The proposed tax plan streamlines these benefits into a more effective higher education tax credit, which will help more families offset the cost of both college and vocational training programs.

English Department Graduate Chair David Eng said the GOP tax bill and the immigration stances of the Trump administration are discouraging worldwide students from pursuing graduate studies in the United States.

"It would make getting a PhD unviable for most people", Grant said.

"I am a first-generation college student and an immigrant to the United States", Gillespie said, "and I absolutely could not go to graduate school were it not for this tuition waiver". The Senate's version of the bill - which does not now include the provision reclassifying tuition waivers - was approved Tuesday by the Senate Budget Committee, which is chaired by Sen.

Students at the Peshawar University are continuing their protest for the third consecutive day.

We should nurture those experiences by providing graduate students with a rich and welcoming environment to make sure that our interactions with faculty, researchers and undergraduate students reach their full potential.

We asked whether simply adding back the tuition waiver provision to the House plan would alleviate the tax burden on students, and in all situations, this is the case.

"Without us, the university would grind to a halt", Kohn said during the protest. The students have claimed that no university representative has yet come for negotiations. Each is a de facto tax increase on American students and their families, makes the already hard task of affording college even more so, and closes the door to many for whom a college education is a doorway to a successful future. "I am really not about that". The provision has been called a "ghost tax", because it would tax up to tens of thousands of dollars the students never receive as income.

We appreciate the desire to simplify and strengthen the nation's tax code, and we also recognize that our legislators have many competing interests to balance. We simply can not afford to lose ground in attracting those students who we know will drive innovation, guide the development of new technologies, and perform the type of path-breaking research that will improve our economy and quality of life. In many graduate programs, Ph.D. candidates work for universities. It would force many of us, especially the most marginalized and vulnerable among us, to seriously consider dropping out of school.

About 145,000 grad students received a tuition reduction in 2011-12, the American Council on Education says.

A UC Berkeley analysis found that if Berkeley's $13,793 annual tuition benefit became taxable, the university's graduate students' taxes would rise by 61 percent, or about $1,400, for a campus teaching assistant, and 31 percent, or about $1,100, for a research assistant.

University spokesperson Stephen McCarthy wrote in an emailed statement that Penn is "actively working" to address the concerns of graduate students. If that bill is passed, the two branches will negotiate a compromise draft to try to pass new tax legislation through Congress.

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