Graduate students walked out on campuses across the country to protest the Republican tax plan, although the version now making its way through the U.S. Senate does not contain the tax on graduate student tuition.
Under the new tax reform bill, tuition waivers would be classified as taxable income. The House version of the tax plan contained a provision to tax graduate student tuition waivers, which might cause some students to see a 300-400 percent increase in their taxes.
With the U.S. Senate poised to enact sweeping tax cuts for the wealthy, University of Minnesota teaching assistants, research assistants and other graduate workers marched to protest the plan. However, the House bill passed earlier this month ends this tax break. "By enacting this bill, higher education institutions are likely to see a decrease in graduate enrollment and consequently tuition dollars, an impact that these institutions can't afford when they are already experiencing budgetary cuts from the state and federal governments".
This means that students would be taxed as if they were actually earning their tuition rates as income, on top of their taxable stipends- the average of which is note quite $30,000 annually - which makes for an impossibly bare-bones lifestyle. "People would have to leave grad school if nothing is done about it", said Maisson.
But GET-UP member and English Ph.D. student Nick Millman, who helped organize the event, said the administrators' statement was not enough and that GET-UP is calling on Gutmann to release a statement with concrete steps on how to protect students from their loss in income due to the tax plan.
Graduate students and faculty gathered in a large circle on Cater Lawn chanting, "No grad tax", under gray skies.
However, for some graduate students this may be insufficient, and there are people who expect the administration to take a more proactive stance in the form of contingency plans or outlined strategies that people can understand and to which they can relate. "We unequivocally back continued investment in American education as a highly-educated and highly-skilled workforce is critical for a better future for our country and for the world".
We ask Congress to reconsider these proposals and work with us to make a college education available and within reach of as many Americans as is possible. Losing us would force the university to cancel classes typically run by graduate students, like "Drugs, the Brain and Behavior".
The university presidents from the UI, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa sent a letter to the Iowa Congressional Delegation stating concern for the proposed provisions. "If this tax bill passes, I can't support anyone, I can't even support myself".
The additional cost would make graduate school increasingly unaffordable for students like Marie Gillespie, who studies clinical psychology at the University of Southern California. My concrete demand would be to promise the students that whatever happens, our tax costs aren't going to go up.
For example, the Medical Center Graduate Student Organization has a volunteer program that allows us to teach science to young students in D.C. public schools. "There's a lot of good work taking place on this campus that would be halted by this bill".
It is unclear how this demonstration proved the "vitality" of the work of Penn grad students.
They also explained that GRO provided graduate students with premade tweets and calling scripts and that they are working closely with the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS).
From the first day of our campaign, the most important thing that we've told our supporters is that the union is us.
How would the proposed tax changes in Congress affect you?We simply can not afford to lose ground in attracting those students who we know will drive innovation, guide the development of new technologies, and perform the type of path-breaking research that will improve our economy and quality of life.
Whether we are interested in health sciences or computing, in art history or economics, the discoveries that move us have all been shaped by graduate student hands. 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.