COGS calls proposed tax bill a 'danger to higher education'

01 December, 2017, 06:40 | Author: Phil Peters
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Unfortunately for married graduate students and those with dependent family members, the situation isn't much better. If he paid taxes on his $50,000-a-year tuition, Hogan says Brown estimates a significant tax increase. "That's why we are working closely with other universities, national organizations and members of Congress to refocus the tax reform debate on simplification and incentives for education and research".

Speaking with KQED News, University of Southern California (USC) student Marie Gillespie said: "I am a first-generation college student and an immigrant to the United States and I absolutely could not go to graduate school were it not for this tuition waiver".

Bloom said the longtime provision benefited 145,000 graduate students in 2011-12.

"[If the bill passed], tuition coverage from the university would count as tax cost", Landon Elkind, financial officer of UE Local 896/COGS, said. However, it is now not part of the bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate. "This is while taxes for the wealthy and corporations are being cut in the same bill". "While the platitudes are nice and I appreciate them, I want to see more, and I think the attitude here is, we want to see more specific promises on behalf of the University".

"The most dramatic effect would be felt by students from low-income groups, and those that accumulated a significant student loan burden prior to coming to graduate school", Barclay said.

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Under current tax laws, many doctoral and graduate students receive tuition waivers that are not counted as taxable income as long as the student does research or teaches for the university.

Barclay and Simmons see hope that the Senate will reject the most onerous of the House provisions. However, the House bill passed earlier this month ends this tax break.

Students are also concerned that having to claim tuition assistance as income would push them into higher tax brackets where they would become ineligible for government assistance through food and childcare programs.

"There are many things in the House bill that are concerning and will have huge fiscal implications, and we are pushing back on all of them", Simmons said, "But the first thing out of my mouth in talking with political leaders is this hurts people who are paying for college, whether it's graduate students or employees".

The bill also does away with student loan tax reduction, an additional $2,000 students would fail to collect yearly, Baker said. "Increasing taxes on people who are paying for college is not a great policy to support". Many students expressed frustration with the Trump administration for not prioritizing higher education. "But we're going to leave a voicemail to tell them to vote no on the tax bill". As USC Professor David Schwartz added: "Doing this is just a mean-spirited attack on higher education".



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