December 11, 2017
Jeff Tischauser’s dream of a university teaching career seemed within reach in 2013, when he was accepted into UW-Madison’s doctoral program in journalism and mass communication. To join the program, Tischauser, 36, said he took a big pay cut from his past career teaching at community colleges. Now, with a year and a half left to finish his doctoral dissertation, Tischauser faces an unexpected wrinkle: a tax overhaul being debated in Congress that he fears could give him a whopping tax increase by taxing the tuition waivers he and other graduate students receive. Tischauser said he already has little financial wiggle room: his take-home pay is about $25,000, he said, from a university stipend plus his side gigs, which include adjunct faculty work at an online college and working as a sales rep for a cheesemaker.
December 6, 2017
As the competing Republican tax plans from the House of Representatives and the Senate head to a conference committee that will square the differences and create a final piece of legislation, graduate students are worried. A group of 40 or so activists and graduate students, organized in part by Faculty Forward and the Service Employees International Union, took their concerns to Capitol Hill Tuesday in a protest outside the office of Representative Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House. Upon coming to the office’s locked door, the protesters held their demonstration in the hallway.
December 6, 2017
Eight graduate students were arrested Tuesday protesting the Republican tax plan outside the Capitol Hill office of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the latest demonstration against legislation that students fear will make their education less affordable. Graduate students say their taxes will skyrocket if a proposal to treat their tuition benefits as income makes it into the final version of the legislation. Universities waive tuition for graduate students willing to work as teaching and research assistants. Those waivers are exempt from taxation, but House Republicans want that to end.
November 28, 2017
Talk among graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been buzzing with speculation about a proposed federal tax bill that could hike their income taxes so high some wonder whether they could complete their degrees.
October 23, 2017
Tom Ebaugh, working toward a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, says Radenka Maric is the reason he’s doing it at the University of Connecticut. “I wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t,” said Ebaugh, 24, wearing plastic gloves and protective glasses at a fuel cell energy laboratory, part of UConn’s Center for Clean Energy Engineering. Originally from Pennsylvania, he is among a handful of graduate students working under Maric, who is not only a professor in sustainable energy, but as of July, vice president of academic research at Connecticut’s flagship university.
August 28, 2017
Four floors above a dull cinder-block lobby in a nondescript building at Ohio State University, the doors of a slow-moving elevator open on an unexpectedly futuristic 10,000-square-foot laboratory bristling with technology. It’s a reveal reminiscent of a James Bond movie. In fact, the researchers who run this year-old, $750,000 lab at OSU’s Spine Research Institute resort often to Hollywood comparisons.
July 26, 2017
Renewing the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy has long been a concern for the nation’s communities, schools and policymakers; the state of manufacturing in the country became an even more pronounced issue during last year’s presidential election campaign. A coalition of educational and manufacturing experts released a report Monday making suggestions to ensure that advanced manufacturing students are prepared for seismic industry shifts. An Expert Education Team assembled by the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, released the first of the six schedule reports on Monday, calling for higher ed institutions to find ways to adjust their curricula. The report said it is incumbent that students become better equipped to take on manufacturing jobs that are concerned with lightweighting technology and processes.
July 14, 2017
A House subcommittee is considering a bill that would increase the 2018 budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by 3.2 percent, to $35.2 billion, over this year’s budget, Nature reports. The proposal counters an earlier request by the President Donald Trump’s administration to cut the NIH budget by 18 percent. The House bill also explicitly rejects the administration’s proposal to slash indirect costs paid to grantees’ institutions to a flat 10 percent of the grant amount. Universities and other research institutions had argued that even the current indirect cost rates, which are negotiated individually with institutions, often don’t cover the full costs of services needed to support NIH-funded research.
July 13, 2017
House Republicans issued a fiscal 2018 budget plan on Wednesday that rejects the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate or sharply cut so-called indirect-cost payments to universities for medical research. The plan, offered by Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the National Institutes of Health, makes clear that indirect-cost payments on NIH grants should continue "to the same extent and in the same manner" as has existed.
July 13, 2017
The Trump administration's first budget proposal was greeted coolly by Republican lawmakers (amid deep consternation from advocates for higher education) when it was released in May. Many members of Congress avoided direct criticism but suggested they would not go along with major cuts in popular programs, including a plan to slash the rates at which the government reimburses universities for their own spending on research overhead. Wednesday President Trump's party offered a more direct rebuke, as the appropriations panel in the House of Representatives released a 2018 spending bill that rejects most of the administration's proposed changes.