About the Proposed Tax Law Changes
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts that was recently passed by the House of Representatives would eliminate Tax Code 117(d), which states that fee and tuition remissions made by universities on behalf of student employees are exempt from taxable income.
Should this version of the bill become law, tuition and fee remissions made by the University when students are employed as Teaching Assistants, Teaching Associates, or Graduate Student Researchers will have to be declared as taxable income to the student. For many students, this will significantly increase their federal tax obligation.
A separate provision of the House’s bill would no longer allow deduction of interest paid on federal student loans. This would also have a negative financial impact on many students. For the graduate student population, the impact is much smaller than elimination of Tax Code 117(d), but it would still constitute an additional financial burden for some students.
How You Can Take Action
On November 15, University of California President Janet Napolitano sent a letter to congress taking a strong stance against the portions of the bill that would negatively impact our students. President Napolitano, Student Regent Paul Monge and Student Regent-designate Devon Graves issued a statement on the federal tax proposals earlier today. Leaders from across the UC system stand in solidarity with students as we work together to advocate for fair tax policies and to advance our shared mission of supporting higher education.
Here’s how you can help:
- Get informed on how the proposed bill will impact our graduate education community by reading the Tax Bill FAQ and the additional informational articles below.
- Tell your story to your family and friends and encourage them to advocate on behalf of graduate students nationwide by contacting their representatives and spreading the word on social media using the hashtag #donttaxeducation. The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students has created an advocacy toolkit for those wanting to get involved.
- Finally, participate in the national #gradtaxwalkout to #savehighered, this Wednesday, November 29, at 10 am PST.The event will take place on the Quad across from MU and will demonstrate the importance of graduate students to the future of higher education and our nation as a whole. More information about the national walkout can be found here and a Facebook event for the UC Davis walkout can be found here.
Additional Resources and Analyses
- How the House GOP Tax Plan Would Affect Grad Students | Eric Kelderman, The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Taxing a Coupon | Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed
- Graduate Students and the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act": What You Need to Know | Students Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE)
- Rework the Reform | National Association of Graduate-Professional Students
- Tax Reform Resources | Council of Graduate Schools
- Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Fact Sheet: Calculate Your Impact | Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA)
- Taw Law Changes FAQ | UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division
- Contact Form - Your Local Representatives | University of California