Tags: Education | Trump Administration | Trump Tax Reform | house | tuition | tax deduction | graduate students

House Tuition Deduction Repeal Will Hit Graduate Students

Image: House Tuition Deduction Repeal Will Hit Graduate Students
The campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. (Charles Krupa/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017 04:16 PM

The House Republicans' tax bill would hit graduate students around the country in a big way, reportedly hiking the tax load for some of them as much as 400 percent.

The proposal repeals the tax-exempt status of the "qualified tuition reduction" — tuition lowered by a university for its employees and paid graduate students, who help to teach courses or work with professors on research projects, the Harvard Crimson reported.

The stipend is around $30,000 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NPR reported. At Harvard, Ph.D. students and some in a Master's program get roughly $45,000 a year, according to the Crimson.

"In general, the effects at Harvard, as well as other private institutions, will be more harmful to graduate students than at public universities, to the extent that Harvard and its peers charge higher tuition than other institutions," Notre Dame law professor Patrick W. Thomas wrote in an email.

For example, students earning a typical stipend of roughly $35,000 could see their federal income taxes increase almost four-fold — from around $3,300 to $12,000 per year under the proposed plan, the Crimson reported.

"The past week this is what I've been talking about with other graduate students and classmates; I think we're all shocked," Tamar Oostrom, in her third year of getting her Ph.D. in economics at MIT, told NPR. "This bill would increase our tax by 300 or 400 percent. I think it's absolutely crazy."

According to the American Council on Education, about 145,000 graduate students got a tuition reduction in 2011-12, NPR reported.

But Kim Rueben of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute told NPR the plan is not just harmful to grad students.

"What you're doing is increasing the cost of going to graduate school . . . and ignoring the fact that the government makes much more money if people have more education," Rueben said.

The American Council on Education sent a letter criticizing the plan to Congress that was signed by over 30 academic organizations.

The Senate version does not contain the provision, NPR reported.

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The tax load for some graduate students might increase as much as 400 percent under the House Republicans' version of the tax bill, according to reports.
house, tuition, tax deduction, graduate students
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2017-16-14
Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017 04:16 PM
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