Over the last few weeks, Congress has been working to pass a tax bill in time for the winter holidays. Provisions from each bill cover everything from tax cuts for corporations to allowing drilling on a wildlife refuge in Alaska. Among those provisions are new rules that could affect college students and graduates. While the Senate bill seeks to leave many current colleges and university provisions intact, the House bill looks to cut key programs that benefit many students. If the House plans are passed into the final bill, students could face dramatic increases to their taxes which may impede them from affording their education.
In the House bill, students would face a taxation on tuition waivers. Tuition waivers are given to students for working as teachers or research assistants within their university. The money earned goes towards a student’s tuition and reduces the overall cost of their degree. The proposed provision would dramatically increase what students owe in taxes each year.
The House bill would also eliminate deductions of up to $2500 on student loan interests, meaning that graduated students would no longer receive a tax break from their student loans. The tax on waivers and the elimination of student loan deductions would increase what graduate students already owe in taxes each year, which could force them to borrow money in order to cover the basic cost of living expenses.
Graduate students aren’t the only ones affected by the House bill provisions. Current students could also be denied financial aid at certain institutions because of a proposal to tax endowments received by the school. The bill would tax private colleges with at least 500 students and endowments valued at $250,000 per full-time student.
Many students fear the proposed amendments to the tax bill will make it impossible for them to finish their degrees or prevent them from purchasing a home or a car after graduation. Others argue that the elimination of these programs would discourage those from pursuing a higher education, especially those who are already struggling financially.
Students can sign petitions or call their representatives to protest the proposals from the proposed House bill.