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

Thursday, 30 Nov, 2017

Organizers for Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers said graduate students should oppose the plan even though it is unclear whether qualified tuition reductions will be classified as taxable income. GET-UP member and Biomedical Graduate Studies Ph.D. student Liv Harding said she reached Toomey's voicemail and left a message telling him to vote against the tax plan.

Rock estimates his effective tax rate would be about 30 percent if his $19,600 worth of tuition and fee waivers were counted as income.

"I personally would not have come to graduate school if the tuition waivers were taxed", he said.

Brandon Daniels, a second-year SU graduate student, said he can't get central New York Republican Rep. John Katko to change his vote for the tax bill.

Qualified graduate students such as Gach, who serve as teaching and research assistants, now get college tuition waived for their contributions as a tax-exempt benefit. He receives about $17,000 as a teaching stipend and about $7,000 as a tuition waiver.

So we're seeking public commitments from him, from other local central OH lawmakers for my group and for other local lawmakers for the other schools who are protesting today, as well as from our senators, that they will publicly commit to opposing any version of the bill that attacks higher education in this way.

Our graduate educational system is one of the primary reasons that the U.S.is such an innovative country. The students will no longer be allowed to deduct student loan interest from their taxes.

Graduate tax hike protest at UC Berkeley on November 29, 2017.

Graduate students in attendance said it is already a challenge to make ends meet in the Bay Area. The bill does expand the related American Opportunity Tax Credit from four years to five, but graduate students are generally not eligible, the UI said.

The Republican Senate tax plan does not include such a provision, but the House and Senate would have to reconcile their bills before any tax changes would become law. "I'm already one-fourth of the way through and if this passes, basically I'm just gonna have to call it quits", explains Chapman.

One student from the crowd stated that in most college mission statements there is a "commitment to diversity" and that this proposed tax is in direct opposition to that. "But this doesn't mean that they can take the limited funds that you receive and tax them away". In exchange, the institution gives them a small stipend, often around $20,000 a year, and it also waives their tuition.

Graduate student Toryn Rogers is anxious that with the bill he won't be able to afford to live if his tuition wavier is taxed.

Kumar said the work restrictions coupled with the financial burden from the tax plan could cause some global students to leave the country rather than finish their degrees.

There are 6,212 graduate students at OU this semester. Investing in education is investing in the future, and the government and institutions should work collectively to solve the financial crisis that prospective students, current students and graduates face. The powerful higher-education lobbies appear to have lost the "tax higher education" showdown. It will also make it more hard for IU to attract the best and brightest students to the graduate programs on which the growth of our state and nation depend.

During the campaign, Trump supported the idea that university endowments (valued at $600 billion), should provide greater financial support to students.

"Tax reform should not be borne on the backs of our hardworking graduate students", the statement said, noting that graduate students "further groundbreaking research, mentor the next generation and contribute to the economy". He says it could "have the unintended outcome of driving graduate students out of the United States and toward colleges and universities in Canada, Europe, and around the rest of the world". It affects everybody involved with the university. That would lead to a decline in charitable giving, the UI said, citing a 39 percent drop in charitable deductions projected by the Joint Committee on Taxation.