Impact Of GOP Tax Plan On Students (By Jenny C. Bledsoe)
The House GOP tax bill makes graduate school inaccessible for anyone who is not independently wealthy, and it will likely cause current graduate students to drop out of doctoral programs and/or declare bankruptcy.
A single line in the 429-page bill effects this change: 26 U.S. tax code Sec. 117(d) allows students conducting research or teaching for a university (usually Ph.D. students on fellowship) to receive tuition waivers tax free. Any stipends are taxed.
The House “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” however, will repeal this provision, meaning that a Ph.D. student making a stipend of $24,000 will be taxed as if they are making $85,200. This would have been my situation two years ago. During the first three years of Emory’s Ph.D. program, a student currently receives a tuition waiver amounting to $61,200. Once you reach “tuition-paid” status after your third year, the annual tuition is $30,600.