House tax-reform bill represents huge hike for many UI grad students

Ayesha Gulalai joins protesters urges governor to intervene
Ayesha Gulalai joins protesters urges governor to intervene
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01 December, 2017

"I want to see this tax plan go down", said Shannon Negaard, a University mathematics graduate student attending Wednesday's walkout. But as most students now know from their newsfeeds and social media networks, the elimination of tuition waivers under the House (but not the Senate) version of the plan, resulting in the treatment of these funds as taxable income, may be the most alarming adjustment.

"Even a thousand dollars more a year is a huge deal for a graduate student who can barely save about $3,000 or $4,000 a year", he said.

All 12 Republican U.S. Representatives from Pennsylvania voted yes on the House tax bill, and the five Democratic Representatives voted no.

"Chair Sharkey and Regent Kroll's visit is especially timely since the full Senate is expected to begin debating their tax bill tomorrow", said Vice President for Government Relations Tanya Kelly-Bowry.

In response, the University sent out an email to graduate students on November 17, addressing their concerns and assuring them that they were working with other Universities as well as allies in Congress to oppose the tax changes.

English Department Graduate Chair David Eng said the GOP tax bill and the immigration stances of the Trump administration are discouraging global students from pursuing graduate studies in the United States.

"This perpetuates this very bad standard that graduate school is only for already rich and frankly, white people", Clinton said.

The Senate will likely make some alterations to the House plan.

"There is essentially a tax increase for graduate students".

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However, for some graduate students this may be insufficient, and there are people who expect the administration to take a more proactive stance in the form of contingency plans or outlined strategies that people can understand and to which they can relate.

"When graduate students are under attack, what do we do?"

Also in a written statement to the newspaper, Kaine said, "Graduate students have invested time and money to plan out their futures based on a promise that was made to them, and changing the rules is wrong. Without the graduate university system, we all can't do it", Lewis said.

As bad as the graduate student stipend would affect Barclay, he realizes there are many other graduate students in more precarious situations.

For students like Brown, the unforgiving tax proposal would make it hard for her and her partner to complete their dissertations.

Under this bill, graduate school will become unaffordable for anyone who doesn't have outside means to support themselves.

"(The bill would be) putting one more burden on our generation as we're just trying to get ourselves off the ground", Eaton said.

From the first day of our campaign, the most important thing that we've told our supporters is that the union is us. If that bill is passed, the two branches will negotiate a compromise draft to try to pass new tax legislation through Congress. These waivers cover tuition for students who teach or conduct research at the University, and include a modest stipend for living expenses.

"The argument we've always been able to make is that federal support that goes into American higher education makes the country stronger and the economy healthier", he said. "We sent out an email yesterday with the list of Senators, their office phone numbers as well as Twitter aliases to the graduate student list-serv in the effort to mobilize them against this issue", GRO wrote. It also cited a Ways and Means Committee summary indicating that the bill would cost college students some $65 billion over the next decade. To this end, I want to assure IU faculty, graduate students, staff, and other members of the IU community that our government relations team is working tirelessly here in IN and in Washington to help our representatives understand the implications of this legislation. Our power comes from our will to take action to improve our lives, and continuing to take action is what we plan to do as the Washington University Graduate Workers Union.


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