Thursday, 14 December, 2017

GOP tax plan, opposed by Duquesne and other universities, could harm students

Republicans Are Right to Reform Higher Ed's Tax Breaks IU President McRobbie shares statement on proposed tax reform legislation with University Faculty Council
Elsie Buchanan | 01 December, 2017, 05:36

There are around 8,600 graduate students on's campus, and a graduate student who helped organize Wednesday's event estimated around 3,000 of them on the campus would be impacted by the tax plan. But as most students now know from their newsfeeds and social media networks, the elimination of tuition waivers under the House (but not the Senate) version of the plan, resulting in the treatment of these funds as taxable income, may be the most alarming adjustment. The House version of the tax plan contained a provision to tax graduate student tuition waivers, which might cause some students to see a 300-400 percent increase in their taxes.

LSU graduate students are sounding the alarm, saying the tax reform bill passed by the U.S. House before Thanksgiving could lead to a "brain drain" in Louisiana.

The U.S. Senate is now drafting its own version of the tax bill.

"The GOP tax bill hurts student workers, dis-incentivizes higher education and hurts the university", said graduate student Robin Pearce, speaking at the rally, which drew 300 to 400 people to a sunny Sproul Plaza around noon.

The plan would raise taxes for in-state students by hundreds of dollars and by more than $1,000 for out-of-staters, according to the graduate student assembly's calculations.

"There's a misconception that grad school and academia in general is this sort of lofty enterprise", Baldino said.

Nationally, CNN estimates some 145,000 graduate students "would take a big hit under the House tax plan".

Although mainly graduate students have been vocal against the bill, it still holds implications for undergraduate students, according to David Schwartz, an associate professor of psychology.

For young working mothers like Cheyenne Finkbeiner, 22, who attended the rally with her baby, dreams of pursuing higher education may become much more unlikely. "Regardless of the outcome of this process, we will continue to support students and staff from all backgrounds and work to make educational opportunity as accessible as possible".

"The stipend we get is just enough to cover basic expenses", said Emma Carroll, a Ph.D student in the molecular and cell biology department. "And if [the tax bill affects] graduate students and future researchers in this manner, it's threatening the very economy of the country".

Graduate tax hike protest at UC Berkeley on Nov. 29 2017
Graduate tax hike protest at UC Berkeley on Nov. 29 2017

"The most dramatic effect would be felt by students from low-income groups, and those that accumulated a significant student loan burden prior to coming to graduate school", Barclay said.

"It's a reality of life", she said. "The graduate student doesn't get tuition waivers-all of a sudden it becomes income, so that graduate education is completely unaffordable". The list goes on and on and, in each instance, students and families pay higher taxes.

Graduate tax hike protest at UC Berkeley on November 29, 2017. These assistantships come with a tuition stipend that is not taxable, but with the new GOP tax plan, the waivers would be taxed as regular income.

Passed by the House of Representatives on November 16, the tax proposal is a $1.5 trillion plan that promises a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code.

Beyond the direct effects, Simmons also sees a larger tension ahead if the bill's tax cuts further a two-decade-long squeeze of federal discretionary spending.

If passed, Kumar said the bill "will force many of us to drop out".

It is unclear how this demonstration proved the "vitality" of the work of Penn grad students. Students' loan interest deduction is also at risk for repeal.

In the languages departments, for instance, it's graduate students who have the most contact with first-year undergraduate students.

The innovations that have created our health and prosperity today were built on the research of yesterday's graduate students.

Earlier this month, the American Council on Education, on behalf of the Association of American Universities, of which IU is a member, and 45 other higher education associations, sent a letter to the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee expressing strong opposition to several harmful provisions in the House legislation.

'Lady Bird' Just Became Rotten Tomatoes's Most Popular Film of All Time
For perspective, Citizen Kane , a film often mentioned in Greatest of All Time lists, is also at 100%, but with only 75 reviews. Although small indies can tend to hold on to 100% "Fresh" ratings, it's a monumental task for a wide-release film.


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