VIEWPOINT: Graduate Students Deserve a Seat at the Table

Our universities and the tax plan | Centre Daily Times

The provision - which critics have labeled the "ghost tax" because students never actually see the tuition that would be taxed - is part of the House version of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul bill, not the Senate version.

"Congress gave our research enterprise a strong vote of confidence this year with increased funding for agencies like the National Institutes of Health, but that funding relies on universities and graduate students to carry out those grants", UNC System President Margaret Spellings said in a statement.

"The university as a whole, I don't think has come out and said 'this is not a good thing.' The fact there's not that much support as of yet for graduate students in this tax situation is really disconcerting for me", Wiebe said.

Hundreds of UC Berkeley graduate students gathered at Sproul Plaza on Wednesday to loudly protest a piece of the Congressional Republican tax bill that they say would push many of them into higher tax brackets and jeopardize their education. The bill changes the tax code so that graduate student workers would be taxed for tuition that is waived. North Dakota residents pay less for tuition at NDSU and UND than out-of-state students, so their tuition waivers are worth less.

For Joseph Wuest, also a doctoral candidate in political science, the House tax plan is a "direct attack on higher ed and graduate student education".

What are you hearing from your fellow graduate students?

In a statement, a spokesman for Rep. Garret Graves said, "the bill will ultimately benefit grad students and anyone entering the workforce because more competitive tax conditions will lead to more jobs, bigger paychecks, and more money staying in Louisiana instead of going to Washington". Tufts University has now begun to lobby Congress on the tax bill with the American Council on Education and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

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The proposed tax bill will raise taxes on graduate students by up to 400%.

"There's some indication that it might not affect us but we still don't know", said Joe Cronin, a graduate student and union organizer. 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 should have strong unions and high labor standards so that you don't have to go to college to get a degree. If and when the Senate passes a bill, I hope that the conference process will improve the final product. In other words, tuition waivers are not income. "But they have not been willing to put anything in writing in terms of a plan to protect graduate students if these efforts succeed". According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, of the 145,000 graduate students nationwide who would shoulder a higher tax burden, about 60 percent are studying within STEM fields. For example, Senator Pat Tiberi, who is the representative for the OH 12th district near Columbus, here, is on the House Ways and Means Committee. 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. One stated that she was the only native woman from her rural Alaskan village to receive higher education. The University of North Dakota has 2,800 graduate students and about 575 receive assistantships and waivers.

"It's a two year program". "And there's just no promise we'll get employment after".

"Barchi said that he didn't want to comment on counterfactual specifics about the bill, that he didn't want to talk about "what ifs" but that he has our back", she said.

Graduate students are anxious because this is something that will definitely impact their personal finances.

As state support for public higher education has diminished, universities have relied more and more on private philanthropy to fund scholarships and support education and research programs.

Honor. Courage. Commitment. They're the core values of a Marine, the values Jeff Brookins lived by during his years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and the values he continues to live by today.



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