NPR: Grad Students Would Be Hit By Massive Tax Hike Under House GOP Plan
The plan would raise taxes on graduate students, who make very little money to begin with. Analysts say the provision could discourage students from seeking advanced degrees, hurting economic growth.
An underreported feature of the House tax bill is that it would count tuition waivers as taxable income.
It sounds benign unless you’re in higher education or know somebody in higher education, in which case it sounds cataclysmic. Most tuition waivers are modest, somewhere between $15k and $30k. Not a whole lot. Under the House bill, the tax bracket for $12k to $45k is 12%, so a student seeing $20k in taxable income would be theoretically getting somewhere around $17.6k back.
However, tuition waivers are rather large, and if they were counted as taxable income, even though graduate students don’t see a cent of that money, it would undeniably put many of them in the next tax bracket, which is 25%. So that student getting a stipend of $20k a year would only theoretically see $15k of that.
That’s thousands of dollars taken away from students that already have a hard time making ends meet. Many students would be unable to pursue higher education because of the financial burden. It’s absolutely fucking insane that the government would disincentivize higher education, setting the United States even further back behind rapidly developing superpowers like China, destroying the lives of graduate students in the process.
The House of Representatives should be ashamed for including such a punitive, cynical, destructive policy within their tax plan.