Tentative Tax Deal Scraps Hit on Tuition for Graduate Students

Chuck Fisher came to Lehigh with dreams of changing the world for the better

Chuck Fisher came to Lehigh with dreams of changing the world for the better

After subtracting student fees and paying for insurance, doctoral student Tom Millay takes home about $15,000 per year from a Baylor University stipend. Carter and others have not had to pay particular attention to the cost of tuition because of the remission. "Grad workers received, effectively, a pay cut, while Harvard rents and cost of living, in general, was rising", Singh said, referring to this year's below-average stipend increase for graduate students. "I've never thought about it".

"I think one of the reasons why grad students are paid like a job is that when we get out, we'll directly contribute back to the country as engineers, research scientists, or academic professors", Carter said.

"I would not be able to pursue any singular degree if my tuition weren't waived, and I certainly can't pursue both degrees, being assessed for both as though I make income on both tuitions", Van Dervort said.

Under this plan, taxable income in the eyes of the tax bill will balloon to $71,000 per year, meaning that students would pay around $10,000 per year in taxes.

Recently, Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder spoke up for graduate students with a handful of his colleagues in the house by sending a letter to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

This change has not yet been passed into law.

The House bill will also eliminate tax deductions for student loan interest, and both the House and Senate bills include an excise tax on private university endowments.

It is imperative that we urge the members of the conference committee to reject that House provision in the final bill.

The income exclusion protects these students during a time when they just can not afford paying such a substantial tax. Only the students' additional stipends, which are usually paltry compared to most full-time jobs, are now taxed.

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SAS Graduate Student Government President and Ancient History Ph.D. student Greg Callaghan said the proposal could decrease the number and quality of graduate applications to Penn.

According to the most recent data by the Department of Education, as many as 145,000 grad students could be affected.

Yoder did vote for the overall House version of the tax bill, but he says taking the tax exempt status away from graduate students will do more harm than good. Public schools typically have lower tuition rates and rarely provide tuition waivers for master's degrees.

Alex Clark, of Columbus, Ohio, is a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering at Yale University.

Graduate students expressed hope that their advocacy would influence lawmakers' thinking on the tax proposals. "Only those who can take on debt or those who are independently wealthy will be able to attend graduate school".

A number of universities across the US have seen their graduate students protest the new bill.

This could mean a composition of graduate degree programs that are less socio-economically and racially diverse. Working for nonprofits and science research institutions before coming to graduate school, we were just making enough to support ourselves - much less pay for higher education, or for this tax bill.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), sponsor of the bill and the chair of the conference committee, defended the provision in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute as ensuring fairness in the tax code. "When you limit the people that can create knowledge, what you get is bad knowledge". She emphasized that the University has been trying to draft a proper response to the changing bill. This income, of course, is taxed.

"We met with most of our congressional offices to articulate the universities position", Sistak said.

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