Graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are worried that the Republican tax reform plan could make their education more expensive.
Right now, graduate students at the U of I get paid a stipend for their research or teaching work on campus, plus a tuition waiver. Students pay taxes on their stipend but the tuition waiver is tax-free. Under the GOP tax plan, graduate students will have to pay taxes on their tuition waiver as well.
Graduate student Jason Rock said a tax on the tuition waiver tax would push low income students out of graduate school.
“It would effectively make it so that only the affluent could pursue a higher education," Rock said.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, whose district includes the U of I Urbana campus, published a letter opposing the tuition waiver tax. But Rock said Davis still supports the overall tax reform bill.
The university has also issued a statement opposing the tuition waiver tax portion of the GOP tax proposal.
Illinois State University's Graduate School emailed its grad students on Wednesday, urging them to contact their members of Congress to express their concerns about the changes.
"We are monitoring this situation closely and will do whatever we can to change the bill," wrote Amy Hurd, director of ISU's Graduate School.
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