New taxes for Graduate students

A new Bill could tax graduate students, increase their debt

Derrius L. Ivy, Editor

With all the changes and cuts following last year’s election, it can be hard to stay positive about things like financial aid, federal funding, and grants. A new tax bill is on the way, and if passed, this will be costly to many universities – staff and students alike.

The new bill would tax tuition waivers for graduate students and university employees.

A tuition waiver is a kind of financial aid where the university forgoes all or part of the tuition charges. Usually, this is done as an employee benefit for staff members or in exchange for taking on additional duties, like working as a teaching assistant or researcher.

According to the LA Times, “In the current code, the government can tax certain types of funding but not tuition waivers. The House version of the bill would change that and for many students, that would mean a 400 percent increase in their taxes. In effect, removing the exemption creates a grad student tax.”

When entering college, we are warned about student loans and advised to avoid them but how can we avoid them with tuition and taxes climbing?

Increased taxes and tuition is a problem that is becoming more obvious on a worldwide scale. The more expensive school gets, the fewer students want to attend.

In annual university rankings, the U.S. lost the first and second place to the United Kingdom this year. With some of our nation’s most prestigious colleges, such as Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton, falling short to international competition, the nation may lose our spots on the list altogether as the U.K. and China catch up.

According to The Times Higher Education World University Ranking, “The latest table suggests that the U.S. and Australia’s standing in the table in future years could also be threatened.”

Students should not have to deal with any additional taxes in regard to schooling. It is bad enough we have to pay to get the degrees we need so badly to make a living.

If they are so crucial to our own, and the country’s, economic success shouldn’t they be provided or discounted: like a prescription? The government knows that we need a degree yet they increase anything school-related despite it being a necessity in the American way of life.

In my opinion, this is an extreme deterrent. Many parents can’t afford to send their children to college and in many cases, students are required to take out loan after loan just to attend school. This means that over time, educational attainment and enrollment may decline all over the country if prices continue to climb.

I don’t expect free schooling, but if education is so important, we’ll need to find better ways of making more money outside of increasing student debt.

If waivers are removed, students face a difficult decision: attend school and stop with an undergraduate degree or rely on more loans to complete graduate school for their master’s or doctoral degrees. I surely question whether or not I’ll want that doctoral degree if this bill goes into effect.