Graduate Taxation

College students, jobs, money and furthering education. These are the topics that students here at Southern Utah University can expect to impact their lives. They have been at the forefront of current politics, namely in the recently revised “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

Prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee On Taxation, under the section that addresses graduate students, this proposed law would introduce a tax on graduate student scholarships and grants, along with a number of other new tax stipulations. However, the graduate tax has been the most highly debated of the changes.

The University Journal staff had different views that spanned the political spectrum.  

On the politically conservative side of the discussion, our staff members believe that it will be better in the long run for the economy. The increase in taxes on those choosing to attend higher education will allow for tax cuts on the average American who doesn’t go to college or is no longer in school. In addition, with fewer students able to afford the high prices of tuition, colleges will be forced to cut unnecessary spending and lower tuition, making it more accessible to the average consumer.   

Although in the long term this will help lower tuition cost, in the meantime those who choose to pursue higher education should do so with the understanding that they are going into debt. Unfortunately, sometimes a society has to sacrifice the needs of the few to save the population.  

Everyday, hard-working men and women leave their houses to go to their 9-5 jobs in mines, restaurants and other jobs that those of us fortunate enough to attend college would call “less than desirable.” By continuing to give disproportionate tax breaks to people who choose to pursue an education higher than high school, we are telling the average blue collar worker that they just aren’t good enough and they don’t deserve to be treated as well as those fortunate enough to attend college.

Those on the politically liberal side of the argument see things differently.They state that the tax reform bill is part of a larger GOP and right-wing assault on higher education and on public goods.

Staff members said raising tuition to higher amounts and then taxing graduate students threatens to finish off America’s public research universities and eliminate access to postsecondary education for America’s poor and working class. This taxation challenges an order in which higher education entrenches class rather than securing the equal opportunity that is among the most elemental promises of American liberal democracy.

Finally, the plunge in STEM PhDs in the U.S. would drop the rate of scientific discoveries, which could impact farming, military, public health, transportation and city development. Without STEM PhDs, developments would slow immensely and cause issues for the U.S. on state and national growth levels. According to the U.S. Department of Education data, 60 percent of graduate students using tuition waivers are STEM field related.

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Story By
The University Journal Staff