Last updated Wednesday, December 13, 2017.
Nov 16, 2017 – House passes its version of HR1: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. View it here (online portal).
Dec 1, 2017 – Senate passes its version of HR1: Tax Cuts and Job Act. View it here (PDF).
Dec 7, 2017 – House Republicans “backing away” from tuition waiver tax (link).
Dec 13, 2017 – The grad tuition waiver tax provision is reportedly not in the tentative reconciled bill according to at least one Republican senator (link). The student loan tax deduction elimination may remain.
Now – Bill versions need to be reconciled into one version
Action – keep calling senators and representatives. Urge them not to support a bill which will negatively impact graduate students by taxing tuition waivers and eliminating tax deductions for student loans. If your reps have been fighting against the tax bill, consider calling to thank them. Every point of contact helps.
The House version of HR1 included provisions (among others) which could drastically affect grad students by:
- Classifying tuition waivers as taxable income.
- Removing student loan tax credits.
The GSO made an official statement on HR1 in November. The Senate version of the bill does not include the above provisions. Here is a breakdown of the impacts of both bills on graduate students and higher ed.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is now moving toward a reconciled bill which will likely be voted into law. There is a possibility that all the wording which impacts graduate students will find its way into the final bill. But it’s not too late — keep calling your senators and representatives. Ask them to oppose any bill which would hurt graduate students. Whichever way your reps stand, your input matters and can make a difference.
How to Contact Your Representatives
You can call your reps directly via the Congressional Switchboard, accessible via these numbers:
202-224-3121 and 202-225-3121
You will be given a series of prompts to follow (such as entering your zip code) which will connect you to your senators or your House representative.
Here’s a sample script you can modify for your use:
“I would like to thank [Senator/Congresswoman/Congressman ___ ] for fighting against the proposed Tax Bill and stress its negative impacts on graduate students in particular and higher education more broadly. The provisions which allow tuition waivers to be taxable income and the removal of deductions for student loans would be catastrophic. [Insert personal story here.] Education is an investment in the future of this country and it is unethical to be carving out money from higher education to give massive tax breaks to the very wealthy and corporations.”
Here is an image you can share on social media to keep spreading the word: