Statement: GOP Tax Bill & Graduate Student Workers

In addition to concerning provisions that would remove the student loan interest deduction and make it more difficult for state and local governments to properly fund higher education, the current GOP House Tax Bill would deal a huge financial blow to graduate assistants who receive stipends to attend their institutions. Below is a statement on the bill from Faculty Forward member and Duke University doctoral student Claire Ravenscroft:
“On my meager salary as a graduate assistant, I already struggle to make ends meet. It’s even tougher for my colleagues with families. The Republican tax bill would make paying our bills impossible. By taxing the tuition that Duke University waives for PhD students — money I never actually see — this bill would tax me as if I made three or four times my salary, requiring me to pay almost as much money in taxes as I actually earn. 
By denying graduate assistants a basic livelihood for the work we do, the bill will force many of us to drop out before finishing our degrees. Graduate assistants play a vital role in university teaching and research. By cutting us off, the proposed policy would decimate a higher education system already weakened by massive public defunding and rising student debt. No matter how you look at it, this policy punishes people in already precarious economic circumstances to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.”