Faculty at Indiana University are strategizing for what the graduate school will do if the proposed Republican tax reform bill passes.
The bill classifies tuition waivers students receive for research and teaching classes as taxable income.
Eliza Pavalko is the vice provost for faulty and academic affairs at Indiana University. She says they have no concrete plans in place yet because the bill is so new, but graduate students could see around $11,000 to $40,000 in taxes if the bill passes.
“We’re really concerned you know the most immediate thing would be the immediate impact it has on current graduate students because their tax bill would go up sometimes as much as four times. That’s a huge blow and so we worry about the impact on the students,” Pavalko says. “We worry that students might leave because they can’t afford it.”
Pavalko says if the tax reform package passes, grad schools across the country could see a drop in enrollment.
“Also we worry about future students,” Pavalko says. “Whenever we look at graduate school we think about you want to get the best and brightest. You don’t just want to get the wealthiest who can afford to go and the system is set up to make that possible.”
Pavalko says she worries about the long term societal impact this bill might have because companies rely on highly skilled workers.
“When we think about twenty (or) thirty years from now where the big innovations are going to come from – where the big cures for disease those are today’s graduate students and to see that dry up means we’re really going to pay a price for a long time,” Pavalko says.
The IU English Grad Solidarity Coalition plans to stage a graduate student walk out on Wednesday, November 29, as part of a national grad student walkout protesting the bill.
The U.S. House already narrowly approved the $1.4 trillion tax overhaul. The Senate could vote on the legislation as early this week.