The American Philosophical Association (APA) today joined with 34 other academic organizations to issue a public statement opposing the provision in the tax reform bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would result in graduate school tuition waivers counting as taxable income. They currently do not.
The statement reads, in part:
Subjecting tuition waivers to income tax would dramatically increase the tax burden of hundreds of thousands of students. This would put graduate education out of reach for many, and would have the greatest impact on those groups already underrepresented in higher education.
The provision would also likely force graduate schools to reduce the number of students they admit, so that they can compensate for increased tax liability with increased financial assistance to students in their programs. Reducing the number of students in graduate schools would have devastating effects across higher education and beyond—there would be fewer instructors to teach undergraduates and fewer researchers to pursue new breakthroughs that transform every aspect of American society.
Other organizations signing onto the letter include the American Anthropological Association, the American Association of Geographers, the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, the Association of College & Research Libraries, the Modern Language Association, and many others.
The current Senate version of the tax bill would not count tuition waivers as taxable income. Which policy will make it into the final version of the law is not yet determined. There are some details here.
The statement concludes:
We call on Members of Congress to reject this proposal and stand up for the future of American higher education. We further urge the members of our organizations to contact their Members of Congress and encourage them to act to ensure tuition waivers remain tax-free.
The full statement and list of signatory associations is here.