Penn grad students stage 'work-in' to protest GOP tax bill

Kristopher Drake
December 1, 2017

"The bill would basically make graduate education pretty much untenable for people who aren't independently employed, and what this demonstration at Rutgers and on a national level is doing is showing that graduate students are integral to the function of the University", she said.

The administration of the university has informed students that a meeting on 7 December will discuss the increase in tuition fees, however, students say they will continue the protest until their demands are met. Invest in the future.

The government has proposed a tax reform that would tax graduate students for their tuition benefit that is now covered as part of their funding package for graduate school. The majority of PhD students work for the university in exchange for a wage of roughly US$20,000 and a waivered tuition charge. "If this tax bill passes, I can't support anyone, I can't even support myself".

"I think the kind of position of the Republican lawmakers right now is that people just don't care enough about graduate students to be actively fighting this, and they think they can kind of slip this under the rug and it's just free money to take", she said.

Graduate students at more than 40 universities across the US staged rallies and walk-outs against the Republican tax plan on Wednesday, urging lawmakers not to include in the final bill a provision that would turn their tuition waivers into taxable income.

ISTOCK, WUTWHANFOTOFollowing the approval of a similar bill in the House earlier this month, the Senate Budget Committee approved a tax proposal Tuesday (November 28) that would have far-reaching effects on taxpayers across the country. At some private universities, tuition fees could stretch up to heights of over US$50,000 per year - an insurmountable sum of money for many. She said her taxes stand to potentially triple if the graduate tax deduction is eliminated. "For many graduate students, this could mean the end of their education", Hadley said.

By our calculations, for the public university student, the maximum increases in TTO were $1,826 for a single filer with one child, $3,373 for a married couple, and $2,168 for a married couple with one child.

Under the House Republican Tax Reform bill, graduate students who receive tuition waivers would have to pay income taxes because the waivers would be counted as income. As a result, that grad student's federal tax burden would skyrocket. Burr and Tillis and thanking them for keeping the stipend tax out of the bill and ask them to keep it out of the final bill. The calculator allows concerned PhD students to estimate the amount of tax they will pay if the current House proposal is enacted.

Implementing the tuition tax would "essentially push graduate programs back to a 19th-century model of higher education in which only the rich could go on to higher education", UC Berkeley Professor Wendy Brown said, speaking to KQED News. In fact, the House plan with tuition waivers or the Senate plan, which has tuition waivers built in, reduced taxes across the board as compared to historical tax structures. With some programs lasting up to a decade, the tax law will make a PhD financially impossible for many of them.

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