Students are not now taxed on the tuition they don’t have to pay, but they would be under the House bill. Graduate students often see the high tuition costs of graduate education waived by their institutions to allow them to come and study, especially if they can not otherwise afford to study.
UH Manoa Graduate Student Organization President Taylor Lewis chats with GSO colleagues at UH Manoa’s Bale restaurant.
The proposed tax reform bills by GOP politicians in the House included eliminating tax benefits for college undergraduate and graduate students, but it was not a part in the Senate bill passed early Saturday morning.
Third-year student Sean Pears called it an “incredibly cynical and destructive proposal” that would force students either to leave graduate school or take out student loans to pay taxes.
Graduate students around the US are staging campus walk-outs and lobbying Congress in an effort to keep their tuition waivers tax-free.
While the protest mainly focused on how the tax bill will largely affect graduate, part-time, and non-traditional students, Smolski described why all students should understand the impact it could have.
The GPSC formally came out against the House bill’s treatment of graduate students in a resolution passed November 21, and have organized a day of action for December 6, in which members will be stationed in key campus locations such as the MSC and Evans Library to provide information and encourage students to call their senators and representatives.
More than 10 million taxpayers nationwide, and numerous UMass system’s 75,000 students, claim deductions on student loan interest worth up to $2,500 each year.
Thomas added that he ran the numbers of what the impact of taxing the tuition waivers would be to the typical graduate student at Notre Dame.
Not every graduate-school program is as expensive as Carnegie Mellon’s, of course, and private-school tuition is consistently higher than tuition at public universities. “We’re still looking at the way that other schools are coping with this and trying to create a strategy around it”, she said.
Area universities said thousands of students could be affected by the elimination of the tax exemption, and they argue it could stifle scientific research and thwart academic scholarship in the United States.
As a student who plans to attend graduate school after completing a bachelor’s degree, I find this information to be upsetting.
A Toomey staffer said numerous constituents, including college students, have contacted Toomey about the tax bill. A new tax bill is on the way, and if passed, this will be costly to many universities – staff and students alike.
The prospect of that sends shudders through UH’s grad school community.
Robbie Duncan, 30, an adjunct professor of philosophy at Loyola and a member of the non-tenured faculty union, said he attended the protest to stand in solidarity with graduate students.
Hammill said numerous protesters were likely from departments that haven’t caught up with national averages for stipend levels. Master’s students nearly always make even less. In the past, he has also earned that stipend through teaching. “Bottom line, between federal, state and local income taxes, they would be paying over half of their cash stipends just in taxes and then would have to get by with the rest for food, rent and things like that”.
“A graduate student is never receiving this money”, McCabe said.
University administrators said UB invests heavily in its doctoral students, and many departments have improved stipends over the years. Wealthy university endowments would also be taxed in both versions the legislation. One step can be to sign the petition: The Republican graduate tuition waiver is an attack on academia, and it affects us too. “We’re living paycheck to paycheck and we’re providing essential services to the university”. At the University of OR, 1,500 grad students are given partial OR full waivers of tuition that amounts to $16,602 a year for OR residents and $27,591 for out-of-state students.
It is already hard to make ends meet in Seattle on such a low salary, he said, and having to pay twice the amount of federal taxes would only make the situation worse. As a mother, it concerns me that my children will face new economic challenges when they chose to pursue a higher education.
The Republican tax plan winding its way through Congress includes a special middle finger to the nation’s graduate students.
He encouraged UH students to “reach out directly and immediately” to their own congressional representatives.
“A lot of people are just anxiously waiting to see what happens”, said UH Manoa master’s student Timothy Zhu.