Negotiations in Washington D.C. over the outcome of the current GOP tax bill are hitting close to home for current and future graduate students on campus. Provisions in the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives would eliminate a tax exemption that saves many graduate students thousands of dollars.

“We just wouldn’t be able to afford it,” said Evan Carter M.A. ’18, referring to his and his wife’s ability to pay for their master’s degrees if such a provision became law. “And that’s the truth.”

As a part of the University’s financial package, graduate students can receive full remission of their tuition for up to eight credits per academic year. Since graduate students can take only a limited amount of credits, all graduate students can attend the University without paying tuition. Additionally, students who act as teacher’s assistants are provided a stipend to pay for their costs of living, providing students with a generous package rare among competing institutions’ master’s degree programs. Carter and others have not had to pay particular attention to the cost of tuition because of the remission.

“I’ve never looked at what my tuition would be normally,” Carter said. “I’ve never thought about it.”

Carter noted that he believes this system serves an important purpose.

“I think one of the reasons why grad students are paid like a job is that when we get out, we’ll directly contribute back to the country as engineers, research scientists, or academic professors,” Carter said.

Under current law, these tuition waivers are untaxed. But under the tax plan that passed the House of Representatives last month, these waivers would be considered as income. This key change means money that graduate students never see would be subject to income taxes.

This change has not yet been passed into law. The version of the bill passed by the Senate did not include such changes to how tuition waivers are taxed. This means a conference committee consisting of Republicans from each chamber will now hash out the differences between the bills and determine the final version of the bill. This final version would then be subject to a vote by each chamber in order to pass.

Absent tuition waivers, tuition for graduate students at the University is $6,521 per credit. This means a student taking four credits each semester receives $52,168 in annual waivers.

Using a calculator created by two Ph.D. students at UC-Berkeley, a graduate student taking four credits each semester—earning the $31,794 stipend for work as a teacher’s assistant and paying  $1,963 for the University’s health insurance—would stand to see a tax increase of $9,838, or 359 percent. This comes out an effective tax rate on their stipend of roughly 31 percent.

While taking four credits is typical of graduate students in their first year and Ph.D. students later in their track, the bachelor’s and master’s students often take fewer credits. A graduate student attending the University under the similar circumstances but taking three or two credits each semester would stand to see a tax increase $6,578 or $1,409, respectively, according to the calculator.

A combination of the University’s generous tuition waiver policies and relatively high tuition rate translates to a graduate population at Wesleyan that stands to lose disproportionately more than students at many other institutions. Public schools typically have lower tuition rates and rarely provide tuition waivers for master’s degrees. The same calculator found that a Ph.D. student enrolled at UC-Berkeley would see a tax increase of $1,385. A Ph.D. student at MIT would see a tax increase of $9,584, similar to a graduate student at Wesleyan.

Many other universities’ master’s programs do not provide tuition waivers, making Wesleyan attractive for those without the financial means to cover the costs of tuition.

“Attracting future students who do not have independent means will be difficult,” wrote Cheryl-Ann Hagner, Director of Graduate Services, in an email to The Argus.

Carter sees the tax increase as an assault on higher education in America, noting that a generation of students pursuing higher education would be quickly affected, and potentially diminished. He also views this as a precursor to the hampering of the quality of the University’s graduate degree programs.

“[The astronomy department’s] idea with the graduate program is specifically to attract students from non-traditional backgrounds who may have ended up with a bachelor’s and otherwise may not have the means to pursue it and to keep those students in the field of astronomy,” Carter said.

This could mean a composition of graduate degree programs that are less socioeconomically and racially diverse.

“A narrowing of perspective is the opposite of what research institutes need,” said Jerry Lee, who is seeking a Ph.D. in biology at the University and has been keeping the Graduate Student Alliance informed of the changes in the bill.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), sponsor of the bill and the chair of the conference committee, defended the provision in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute as ensuring fairness in the tax code.

“If you’re a grad student…and you get tuition assistance from the university, it’s tax free,” Brady said. “But if you’re that same student pursuing that same degree, but working across the street at a company trying to earn the money for that tuition, working hard, well you’re taxed for every dime of it.”

At the same time, Brady left open the possibility the tuition waiver income tax could be absent from the final version.

“We’re listening, we’re hearing from lawmakers that this provision at the university level is an important one,” Brady said.

Political advocacy against the provision has begun on campus, both from the administration and among students.

“Wesleyan reached out to the Connecticut delegation and Senator Michael Bennet [’87] in Colorado, a Wesleyan Alumnus,” Hagner wrote.

The American Council on Education (ACE), the leading lobbying group for institutions of higher education of which the University is a member, is lobbying against the provision in addition to other elements of the bill.

“It is possible to offer tax relief to hard-working middle-class and lower-income Americans in a way that does not increase college costs and does not make a quality higher education less accessible,” a letter from ACE’s president Ted Mitchell to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reads.

On campus, Lee coordinated a phone bank ran by the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Coalition, an amalgamation of undergraduate on-campus groups aimed at enhancing diversity in STEM fields. The calls expressing opposition to the provision were directed at senators across the country.

“This bill impacts both current graduate students and undergraduates aspiring to apply to graduate programs,” Lee said. “It makes sense to work as one.”

“Adding a financial tax burden to graduate students who spend years working long hours on low income with uncertain future job prospects will not encourage future scholars to pursue this path,” Hagner wrote in a statement on the effects of the bill. “The potential loss of benefit to Wesleyan and the greater society of the advanced work of graduate students is immeasurable.”


Mason Mandell can be reached at or on Twitter @MasonMandell.

  • DavidL

    Interesting. Calling the impact “immeasurable” and then measuring it. It’s a subsidy. Some people like certain subsidies, others like different ones. As a result we get a lot of subsidies, and feel outraged when our favorites are threatened. If other peoples’ subsidies are at risk, not so much.

  • GD Klein

    The House-Senate conference committee have removed the tuition-fee waiver issue from the bill, according to NY times

  • This is really interesting, You are an excessively skilled blogger.I have joined your feed and stay up for searching for more of your wonderful post.Additionally, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks! Destiny 6 Unlimited money

  • Good post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.Kudos! Cheat for Rules of Survival

  • Valuable info.Lucky me I found your website by accident, and I am shocked why this accident did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it. get free coins in slotomania

  • A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this.And he in reality purchased me breakfast because I found it for let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic.If attainable, as you become expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with extra particulars? It’s extremely useful for me.Huge thumb up for this weblog post! Cheat for Rules of Survival

  • Hey, you used to write magnificent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring…I miss your tremendous writings.Past few posts are just a bit out of track! come on! Jurassic Survival Glitch

  • whoah this blog is wonderful i love reading your posts.Keep up the good work! You know, many people are searching around for this information, you can help them greatly. jurassic survival hack

  • I just could not depart your website prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be back often in order to check up on new posts jurassic survival guide book

  • Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail.I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing.Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it improve over time. Way to Cheat Need For Speed No Limits

  • I discovered your weblog site on google and examine a couple of of your early posts.Proceed to keep up the very good operate.I simply extra up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader.Seeking ahead to studying extra from you later on!… Jurassic Survival Online Generator

  • It’s exhausting to search out knowledgeable people on this matter, however you sound like you understand what you’re talking about! Thanks Jurassic Survival Mod Hack

  • Hey there, You’ve performed an excellent job.I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends.I’m confident they will be benefited from this site. heroes evolved Unlimited Coins

  • I really like what you guys tend to be up too.This sort of clever work and exposure! Keep up the good works guys I’ve included you guys to my blogroll. How to Hack Jurassic Survival

  • This really answered my downside, thank you! Need For Speed No Limits Gift Codes

  • Of course, what a splendid site and enlightening posts, I definitely will bookmark your website.Best Regards! Adventure Game Hack

  • Awesome blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused ..Any tips? Thanks! Android Puzzle Game Hack

  • The subsequent time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one.I mean, I do know it was my choice to read, however I really thought youd have something interesting to say.All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you could possibly repair if you werent too busy looking for attention. King Of Avalon Cheats

  • I am very happy to read this.This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs.Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc. Heroes Evolved Cheats

  • hey there and thanks for your information – I’ve certainly picked up anything new from right here.I did alternatively experience a few technical issues the usage of this website, as I experienced to reload the site a lot of occasions previous to I could get it to load correctly.I had been considering if your web hosting is OK? Now not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading circumstances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your high quality ranking if advertising and ***********|advertising|advertising|advertising and *********** with Adwords.Anyway I’m including this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for a lot more of your respective interesting content.Make sure you update this once more soon.. Dream League Soccer 2018 Hack

  • I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of area .Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site.Reading this information So i’m happy to convey that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed.I most certainly will make certain to don’t forget this website and give it a glance regularly. IOS Mod Music Game Cheat

  • Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Many thanks Dream League Soccer 2018 free android hack

  • Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your posts.Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics? Thank you! Rules of Survival APK Hack

  • Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read something like this before.So nice to find anyone with some authentic thoughts on this subject.realy thank you for beginning this up.this web site is something that is wanted on the net, somebody with a little originality.useful job for bringing one thing new to the web! Jurassic Survival Apk Hack

  • Heya i’m for the first time here.I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot.I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me. Knives Out Cheat

  • Wow! Thank you! I constantly needed to write on my site something like that.Can I take a fragment of your post to my website? Rules of Survival Cheat

  • Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read something like this before.So nice to find anyone with some authentic thoughts on this subject.realy thank you for beginning this up.this web site is something that is wanted on the net, somebody with a little originality.useful job for bringing one thing new to the web! heroes evolved 2018 Glitch

  • I used to be suggested this blog via my cousin.I am no longer sure whether this put up is written by him as no one else recognize such distinctive about my difficulty.You are amazing! Thanks! Jurassic Survival Cheats 2018

  • Wow! This can be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject.Basically Fantastic.I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work. IOS Game Hack

  • Pretty section of content.I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.Any way I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly. jurassic survival wiki

  • Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.Please let me know.Cheers Heroes Evolved IOS Cheat

  • F*ckin’ tremendous issues here.I’m very satisfied to see your post.Thank you so much and i am having a look forward to touch you.Will you kindly drop me a e-mail? Android Mod Game Cheat

  • I’m no longer sure where you are getting your information, however good topic.I must spend some time learning more or figuring out more.Thanks for magnificent information I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission. Jurassic Survival Hack 2018

  • Write more, thats all I have to say.Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read? Jurassic Survival Android Hack

  • I’m still learning from you, as I’m trying to reach my goals.I definitely love reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the information coming.I liked it! Modded Puzzle Game for Android

  • you’ve got an ideal blog here! would you wish to make some invite posts on my weblog? House of Fun hack jailbreak

  • I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure.Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.Thank you The Sims FreePlay Cheats

  • I am really enjoying the theme/design of your site.Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog audience have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox.Do you have any advice to help fix this issue? Destiny 6 Coin Hack

  • Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative.I’m going to watch out for brussels.I will appreciate if you continue this in future.Numerous people will be benefited from your writing.Cheers! Free Fire hack gems ios

  • Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this.I will forward this write-up to him.Pretty sure he will have a good read.Thanks for sharing! Dream League Soccer 2018 hack generator

  • F*ckin’ tremendous issues here.I’m very satisfied to see your post.Thank you so much and i am having a look forward to touch you.Will you kindly drop me a e-mail? world war heroes ios hack no jailbreak

  • This really answered my downside, thank you! world war heroes hack

  • I definitely wanted to type a message so as to thank you for all the awesome tactics you are writing here.My extensive internet search has now been recognized with awesome facts to share with my friends and classmates.I would repeat that most of us website visitors are really fortunate to be in a wonderful website with so many special individuals with insightful points.I feel really blessed to have come across your entire web page and look forward to really more cool times reading here.Thank you again for everything.

  • Unquestionably believe that which you said.Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of.I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they just do not know about.You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal.Will probably be back to get more.Thanks Dream League Soccer 2018 hack mod apk download

  • Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that.And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! world war heroes hack root

  • Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy.The overall look of your site is wonderful, let alone the content! huuuge casino cheat engine

  • I’m impressed, I need to say.Actually rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you could have hit the nail on the head.Your idea is excellent; the problem is something that not enough persons are talking intelligently about.I’m very happy that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing referring to this. world war heroes hack gems

  • In this grand scheme of things you actually secure an A for effort and hard work.Where exactly you lost everybody was first on the details.You know, people say, the devil is in the details…And that couldn’t be much more accurate right here.Having said that, allow me tell you just what exactly did give good results.Your article (parts of it) is quite convincing which is probably why I am making the effort to comment.I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that.2nd, while I can certainly see the leaps in logic you make, I am not necessarily sure of how you seem to unite your details which make the final result.For right now I shall yield to your point however wish in the foreseeable future you actually link your dots better. world war heroes hack generator

  • you’ve got an ideal blog here! would you wish to make some invite posts on my weblog? IOS Casual Game Hack

  • Can I just say what a reduction to find someone who truly is aware of what theyre talking about on the internet.You definitely know how one can carry a problem to light and make it important.Extra folks have to read this and understand this aspect of the story.I cant consider youre no more common since you positively have the gift. Heroes Evolved Cheat