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Nationwide Grad Tax Walkout
November 29, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Dear fellow Graduate students and everyone passionate about education:
We are distressed about the impact the proposed tax bill will have on all graduate students throughout the country. Specifically, graduate students given tuition tax waivers.
If you do not know, the House of Representatives approved a tax bill that eliminates the tax waiver on tuition waivers and it eliminates student loan interest tax deductions. As an example for here at UB, our stipend is approximately $24,000 a year and we are taxed at that income bracket. Under the new bill our adjusted gross income would now include tuition waivers as a form of “income.” This pushes our tax expense upwards of 400% of what we paid this year. Grad School tuition at UB is approximately $21,000 for full time graduate students taking a full course-load. This cost is 1.5x more for international students, who make up the majority of the grad student body especially in the school of engineering. This would mean our taxable income would be between $45,000 and $55,000. In other schools it is much worse (taxable incomes over $80,000!). This moves us into unsustainable tax brackets, at $24,000 a year our tax burden is approximately $1500. Under the new bill and a taxable income of $45k our tax burden jumps to $5k. This would dramatically affect grad student’s ability to afford basic living expenses.
UB mainly issues tuition waivers for Grad students- meaning they are paid for by either the department or the advisor through grants.
Should this tax bill become law (which is very likely), I urge you as chairs and the dean to take immediate action in changing the waiver to a scholarship. At the moment this is the only workaround and sends a powerful message to Washington.
Science and Scientists have long been a-political in the past. Unfortunately this has changed with the current administration. This bill is just one of countless examples of the disregard for our nation’s higher education in particular STEM education.
Graduate students teach your undergraduate classes, we grade your papers, we conduct the lab work to obtain data for grants, we keep the education-loop going.
We are the future of research, innovation and technology. We are also vital for the structure and function of higher education in the United States. Without us, universities wouldn’t have enough instructors or teaching assistants for their college courses. Join us in this national walkout to show just how important graduate students are to science, higher education, public policy, and healthcare.
There is a nationwide walkout (#gradtaxwalkout) on Wednesday November 29th at 1:00pm EST to show how vital graduate students are to higher education. As a UB grad student as well as the community science education director of Science Demands Action, Inc (previously Buffalo March for Science) I will be helping to organize this event for UB.
It is an hour long only, as we do not want to punish our universities and labs, as they are not responsible for this terrible bill. Help send a message by joining your graduate students!
North Campus- Founder’s Plaza
South Campus- Between Foster and Crosby
Please contact me or Alexandria Trujilio (email@example.com) for more information and to let us know you support your grad students! It would be much appreciated if this email could be forwarded to all grad students, deans, chairs, and professors- as this bill will affect us all.
Help us get the word out with the #gradtaxwalkout, and join us by walking to either Founder’s Plaza on North Campus or Between Foster and Crosby Halls on South Campus on Wednesday November 29th at 1:00pm EST. Fight on!
Link to National Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/300955367071512/
Link for UB’s Walkout Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/185775955306704/
Randall J. Smith Jr,
BS; Zoology and Philosophy
MS, Chemical and Biological Engineering
PhD Candidate-Biomedical Engineering
Director of Community Education (formerly the Buffalo March for Science)
Science Demands Action, Inc.
Buffalo, NY 14260
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