News Local/State

University Of Illinois Professor: GOP Tax Bill A Bad Deal For Grad Students


A higher education professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says the tax cut bill working through congress is a bad deal for students.

Jennifer Delaney, associate professor of Higher Education, has been studying the GOP tax cut plan. She says the version of the plan passed by the House of Representatives taxes the graduate tuition waiver.

Graduate students get a modest stipend for their research and teaching work, plus a break on tuition. "So part of the compensation they receive is a tuition waiver where they don’t have to pay tuition for their studies," Delaney said.

If the tuition waiver becomes taxable income, that could make graduate school much less affordable.

"This could significantly make it look on paper that they’re receiving more income than they actually do," Delaney said. "And because those wages aren’t very high it’s not clear that all graduate students will have the ability to pay that tax bill."

Meanwhile, the Senate version of the GOP tax bill keeps the tuition waiver. House and Senate GOP negotiators will have to merge the two bills together for a final vote before sending it to President Trump.