The tax bill tpassed by the US House of Representatives repeals a key provision that, if signed into law, will have dire consequences for graduate students across the nation. In reclassifying graduate school tuition waivers as taxable income, Congress has placed graduate students in financial jeopardy, threatening the future of scientific research in this country. In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will work to reconcile their bills in advance of passing a final tax reform. Contact them today and tell them to protect the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver.
Tuition waivers aren’t income - that money doesn’t go into students’ pockets.
Graduate students work long hours for very little compensation - their work is vital in driving scientific knowledge and creates the baseline of our research economy. They are not only future innovators, graduate students play a vital role in research centers around the world -- running experiments, generating ideas, writing articles. They also teach classes, work in counseling centers, and hospitals. Graduate students are some of the hardest working people across fields, moving us forward in everything from biotechnology to the justice system.
Due to the high cost of tuition, the current plan would eliminate tax breaks that students rely on, and treat students who make $20,000 or $30,000 a year as if they earned double, triple, or quadruple what they actually receive in payment. With this change, the majority of graduate student income would go toward paying taxes. This change would cause some grad students’ tax bills to increase up to 400% and force some of the hardest workers in science out of their professions.
If we speak up now, we can make sure that this provision doesn’t make it into the final tax bill. So contact your reps today, and tell them why they shouldn’t bankrupt our graduate students. Send them a message that you support evidence-based policy -- and that you recognize the pivotal role graduate students play in making the research behind it a reality.
References and Additional Information
Guide to the Tax Cuts
Tax Reform and Higher Education (American Council on Education)
Qualified Tuition Reduction (Association of American Universities)
Data on Science and Engineering Doctorates (National Science Foundation)
House GOP Tax plan would increase taxes for graduate students by roughly 400 percent (CNBC)
Graduate Students Face Alarming Tax Hike (Nature)
The GOP Tax Plan will Destroy Graduate Education (Forbes)