Nationwide Protest Against Tax on Grad Students

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The House tax-cut plan that was passed earlier this month would strip faculty and staff at private educational institutions of the tuition remission they now receive for themselves, their spouses and children if they enroll there.

But the financial relief tuition waivers offer graduate students like Kumar could be cut if a tax plan sponsored by U.S. House Republicans moves forward.

The consequences of no federal financial aid for students, taxing university endowments and likely placing more emphasis on graduation rates will alter the existing structure of universities, and the savings strategies for millions of people.

It's not the norm for PhD students to pay any tuition.

Protesters claim the new tax plan is an attack on education.

What are you hearing from your fellow graduate students?

On Nov. 16, the House passed the tax bill 227-205 along party lines with 13 Republican lawmakers joining Democrats in opposition.

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

We're always working to make sure our voices are heard throughout the CU Boulder community because we firmly believe that graduate students are great contributors to the university's goal.

He added he thinks the university should do more to support workers and students and increase wages. It also cited a Ways and Means Committee summary indicating that the bill would cost college students some $65 billion over the next decade. We have therefore asked the administration to formally recognize GAGE as the exclusive bargaining agent for Georgetown graduate workers.

Though the "qualified tuition reduction" provision is not now in the bill before the Senate, it could still end up there, according to some political analysts.

JENNA FREUDENBURG: Well, it is a bit of a tricky one in the Senate, because the Senate version of the bill does not have this particular provision that we have been discussing that would tax our tuition waivers. She said the extra cost would force many of her peers to drop out, and younger students to shun higher education, plugging the workforce pipeline.

The House version of the bill if it becomes law would also eliminate the tax deduction for student loan interest payments, and tax the value of tuition benefits now offered by the universities to faculty and staff and their spouses and children.

Graham Hammill, dean of the graduate school and vice provost for graduate education, told The Spectrum previously he is against the provisions in the tax plan that would hurt graduate education. DGSU is hosting an event Wednesday in the Bryan Center to help students contact their representatives in Congress about the issue.

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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.

"I got a very modest stipend because the government was investing in me", Huey said. She declined to describe the plan, saying instead she hopes graduate students will prevail and make the contingency plan irrelevant.

Students from other universities are concerned as well.

"There are some areas where we are taking different approaches that will be worked, and can only be worked out, in a conference", Brady said.

Baker said that students may never see $4,000 to $5,000 in yearly remissions.

We will also continue to work closely with organizations like the ACE, AAU and APLU, as well as with our state's congressional delegation, to ensure any bill that ultimately emerges from Washington is less draconian for higher education.

We are opposed to House Resolution 1's proposed graduate student tax. Navient Corporation was selected to collect all student debts, making it considerably more hard to refinance student loan debt. If we want America to be a competing force in the world, we need to foster the pursuit of knowledge.

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"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.

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