Students protest GOP plan to tax tuition waivers: 'It would almost double my tax burden'

University of Oregon graduate students walked out Wed. as part of a national movement opposing the House-proposed tax plan. Photo by Audrey Weil.

EUGENE, Ore. - Graduate students across the country are protesting the House version of the GOP tax plan, including students at the University of Oregon who held a walkout on Wednesday.

"I'm teaching french 101, 102 and 103 this year," said Nicholas Hadley, who is getting his Master's Degree while teaching for the university at the same time. "The benefits were so great, it seemed too hard to resist."

Working students get a tuition waiver, and while that's not going away any time soon - they could have to start paying for it in other ways.

Under the House proposed tax plan, the amount of tuition waived would become taxable income.

So even though students don't actually receive that money, they'd pay taxes on it.

"It's going to make graduate education unaffordable for many people," PhD student Dani Cosme said.

For example, a UO graduate student who makes $30,000 a year could pay anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000 dollars more in taxes.

"It would almost double my tax burden," Cosme said.

"It would decrease my monthly income by about $300 to $400," Hadley said.

"I don't know that it will necessarily make me leave," graduate student Caleb Holt said, "but it will make me not want to continue."

So as the clock ticks away on Capitol Hill, students across the country are taking a stand.

They're making phone calls to senators before the big vote, writing postcards, making signs and passing out flyers.

"I have wanted to be a teacher for a very long time," Hadley said. "I've worked very hard and very long to get here, and so to have the rug pulled out all of a sudden is very concerning."

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