Graduate students, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and across the country, are raising awareness about a tax increase they are facing from the tax reform bill on Capitol Hill.
Julia Reilly, UNL Graduate Student Association vice president for student affairs, says any tuition waiver a student receives currently is not taxed.
She says the plan before Congress would consider the amount waived as income.
“So we’ll be paying exponentially more taxes – for some of us as much as 500 percent more in taxes,” Reilly tells Nebraska Radio Network, “but functionally, our take-home pay will not have changed at all.”
The change was made in the tax bill the House passed.
If it becomes law, Reilly says some students would have to drop out.
“It would mean that scores of classes might not get taught,” she explains. “The university would be less able to execute on research that brings in millions of dollars of grants and creates innovations that really help the economy of the state.”
While graduate student tuition waivers are not currently taxed, income from teaching and research work is taxed.
Friday, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX32) and 30 other House members sent a letter to the leadership, asking that the tuition waiver provision be removed.
“A tax on graduate tuition waivers would be unfair, would undermine our competitive position, and would inhibit the economic growth that tax reform promises,” the letter states. “Tax policy should make our country more competitive, and creating barriers to technological progress is contrary to that goal.”
It goes on to state, “We strongly urge you to ensure that this harmful provision is not in the final version of [the bill].”
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:40]