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Grad Students Hold Rally, Phone Bank to Protest Tax Plan

30 November 2017

"For many graduate students, this could mean the end of their education", Hadley said. Graduate students teach classes, lead lab sections of science courses, and help instructors with grading.

"Graduate students are the teaching assistants in our lectures who explain problem sets we really have no idea how to do", she told the crowd.

McCumber thinks UB's administration should condemn the tax bill, even though the university has yet to release a statement on its passage.

From the first day of our campaign, the most important thing that we've told our supporters is that the union is us. "It's essential that students from diverse economic and demographic backgrounds continue to have access to high quality, affordable graduate education".

Just feet away from the Offices of the President and Provost, about 50 graduate students sat in the lobby of College Hall on November 29 to protest the GOP tax bill. The additional taxing of tuition waivers would further burden students' finances, forcing them to claim income they never receive.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries around the world.

Math Ph.D student Jordan Wiebe is also waiting to start a family with his wife.

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The Senate proposal would keep tuition waivers tax free, but the proposal to tax the waivers could reappear as Congress tries to reconcile plans from the two chambers.

"From our freshmen whose loans are threatened, to our graduate students to whom insult will be added to injury, to their poor-based compensation and their lives in the future and to all of us who came and wanted to be here because of our public education mission; all of that is in danger of drying up", Bono said.

Harding said she attended the work-in because, if the bill passes the Senate, she would experience a $5,000 tax increase that would make it very hard for her to save money with her $31,000 stipend.

"As we move forward, I believe there is a path that lets graduate students work toward their goals without being taxed".

The Republican Senate tax plan does not include such a provision, but the House and Senate would have to reconcile their bills before any tax changes would become law. Graduate students form the backbone of research done at universities in the U.S. When professors proudly talk about the unbelievable work their lab is performing, the odds are that the critical contributions were made by an army of smart, hardworking grad students.

UNC graduate students are holding a phone bank Wednesday night to contact elected officials, telling them not to support the plan.

The Senate version differs from the House bill - it doubles, rather than eliminates, the educator deduction. Under the House bill, the waiver's value would be counted as part of a student's income. The $1.41 trillion total student debt is out of control, with a loan default rate of 11 percent, and the majority of borrowers repaid nothing in the three years after finishing school.

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As a second-year graduate student at the University of Montana, Rogers receives a tuition waiver for teaching and doing research at the university.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represents an attack on US higher education. This fact surprises many people, so it is worth repeating: "doctoral students at Yale do not pay any tuition".

However, as the American Enterprise Institute's Preston Cooper points out, all the hand-wringing over a potential tax on graduate income is for naught.

"I'm taxed as if I have literally, four times the income I have", Cooper-Novack said.

"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.

"Members of the University's Governing Boards and friends of the University have also expressed their concerns to policymakers, and our federal affairs team in Washington is working around the clock with peers and others to advance our case", he wrote. The same logic is at work behind the reason why we don't tax workers for employer-sponsored health insurance. They want to know whether we, as a university, have any contingency plan in place; that we're not expecting issues to solve themselves. In exchange, the institution gives them a small stipend, often around $20,000 a year, and it also waives their tuition.

Clinton stood in the middle of a circle of students and faculty, offering assistance and contacts to whom anxious constituents could voice their concerns to representatives like Rogers.

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None of the students we spoke to were optimistic about the plan.

Grad Students Hold Rally, Phone Bank to Protest Tax Plan