December 19, 2017
The Republican-drafted tax reform bill, headed for votes in both chambers of Congress this week, does not contain several earlier proposals that would have adversely affected graduate students. But a tax on some large private college endowments made it into the final version of the legislation (H.R. 1). Additionally, the 505-page bill sharply cuts business taxes while also halving a tax break intended to encourage development of drugs for rare diseases.
December 14, 2017
Senate and House negotiators meeting this week to craft compromise tax-reform legislation plan to exclude from a final bill some controversial proposals affecting students and colleges, according to multiple reports. Lawmakers from the two chambers of Congress agreed to drop provisions that would treat graduate student tuition benefits as taxable income and repeal student loan interest deductions. Both provisions were included in House tax legislation passed last month but left out of a bill that narrowly cleared the Senate Dec. 2.
December 13, 2017
After subtracting student fees and paying for insurance, doctoral student Tom Millay takes home about $15,000 per year from a Baylor University stipend. But soon he could be taxed as though he earns three times more. Millay, who is studying religion and works as graduate assistant at Baylor, is one of thousands of doctoral students in Texas and beyond watching nervously as Congressional Republicans iron out the details of their tax cut bill. In exchange for his teaching duties, Millay receives free tuition — a $30,000 savings — and an annual stipend of $20,000. If lawmakers approve the House version of the bill, tuition waivers like his would be marked as taxable income, causing a major financial hit for him and thousands of graduate students like him.
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 30, 2017
Many Ph.D. students studying science, technology, engineering and math receive tuition waivers. That means their tuition is covered, and that money isn't taxed as long as the student does research or teaches for the university.
November 20, 2017
The U.S. House of Representatives, on a largely party-line vote on Thursday, passed an overhaul of the tax code that could have far-reaching consequences for higher education — and especially for graduate students who work as teaching or research assistants. The Republican-sponsored bill contains a provision that would tax tuition waivers provided to employees of colleges, including those graduate students. The waivers serve as a significant benefit to student workers who otherwise would not be able to afford to pay tuition on what is often meager pay from their institutions.
November 16, 2017
As both houses of Congress charge forward with wide-ranging tax overhaul plans, higher education leaders have chosen to attack specific provisions they feel would hurt colleges and students instead of mounting a more ambitious assault against Republicans’ broader goals. The strategy is in some ways ironic. Leaders who often talk about the complexity of the postsecondary education system and its pivotal role in fostering economic growth have chosen to focus on their narrow corner of the tax code instead of taking a more holistic view of the currently tangled web of federal rates, incentives and carve outs.
November 16, 2017
The proposed federal tax overhaul could affect large university endowments and graduate student tuition costs, leaving higher education groups worried about the potential impact on student costs and university finances. The measures in both houses of Congress would tax large private university endowments, including those of Rice University and Trinity University in San Antonio. The House plan would also impose a tax on student tuition waivers, potentially burdening graduate students with high fees. The Senate plan does not include those provisions.
November 14, 2017
Proposed federal tax changes would levy new taxes on the endowments of private universities like Duke, reduce the deductibility of student-loan interest, count grad student cost breaks as income, change the tax rules for charitable giving and even tinker with the ones that govern debt financing. Buried in the details of a tax proposal Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing is a provision that would fundamentally change the economics behind a person’s decision on whether or not to pursue a master’s degree or doctorate.