Rutgers graduate students join national protest of GOP tax cuts


If House Republicans get their way, taxes would go up dramatically for graduate students across the country.

As a second-year graduate student at the University of Montana, Rogers receives a tuition waiver for teaching and doing research at the university. "We don't see that money at all, and the impact of that being calculated as income would mean that our already-modest stipends will be reduced to such a point that we won't be able to live from it".

Last week, University of Chicago (U. of C.) graduate students rallied together to urge members of Congress to oppose the Republican tax reform bill. Balmes also benefits from grants that are paid directly to the university (also now not taxed) and tuition waivers, all of which are worth slightly more than $30,000.

It's not the norm for PhD students to pay any tuition.

"The House bill in its current form would have a substantial negative impact on livelihoods it threatens to increase our tax burden by nearly two hundred percent in some cases", said Chaz Lee, a graduate student and a member of Graduate Students United (GSU).

There are 6,212 graduate students at OU this semester. The provision has been called a "ghost tax", because it would tax up to tens of thousands of dollars the students never receive as income.

McCumber thinks UB's administration should condemn the tax bill, even though the university has yet to release a statement on its passage. Speakers called on Congressional representatives from Minnesota to defend and support graduate students by opposing the tax bill.

Grossman now works at the University writing center, and said his decision to walk out will have an effect on the assistance offered to students.

This would be a awful policy because it would hurt one of America's most prized and valuable possessions: excellence in advanced university research. It also cited a Ways and Means Committee summary indicating that the bill would cost college students some $65 billion over the next decade. "This campus, and all of you, the students here, are so important to the success of our community, in terms of health care, in terms of economic development". The question that should guide this kind of conversation is not whether tuition waivers and fellowships constitute income or not, but rather the value we, as a society, assign to knowledge and education in general, and scientific expertise in particular.

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Students announced at the end of the meeting that they would join a national graduate student walkout on Wednesday at noon to raise awareness for their opposition of the bill.

"Even if the Senate version wins out, even if the University manages its accounting in a way or provides extra aid to manage the increased tax burden we still need to be concerned about this bill because the endowment tax and other things will have serious restructuring effects on the university", Cronin said.

Hundreds of graduate students at UC Berkeley protest the GOP tax plan on November 29, 2017.

Student Fiona Ruddy took the microphone and urged everyone to "make sure you call, tweet and shame your representatives - especially if you're from MI and purple states".

In an op-ed in the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, LSU President F. King Alexander railed against the House tax plan.

"We're here to say that we're done with subsidizing the rich", Skarha said to the crowd.

"As we move forward, I believe there is a path that lets graduate students work toward their goals without being taxed".

Former Arizona Republican state legislator Frank Antenori encapsulated the sentiments of a growing anti-intellectual movement in a November 25 piece in The Washington Post: "A lot of Republicans would say they go there to get brainwashed and learn how to become activists and basically go out in the world and cause trouble".

But other concerns about the overall threat of this proposed tax were shared, as well, in an open forum where people could speak to the crowd with a megaphone. "Honestly, it would prevent most of us from continuing our graduate studies". Several debt-forgiveness programs such as Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness primarily benefit high-debt graduate students.