Many PhD students get paid a small stipend to cover living expenses and a tuition waiver. This is in return for the teaching and/or research we do for the school. It varies by program and the cost of living around the college. South Carolina is relatively inexpensive to live so my annual stipend is about $15,000.
I’m pretty frugal and this is just enough money to survive on assuming I don’t have any major medical expenses.
The new tax plan would make me pay taxes on my tuition waiver. Something I usually don’t have to worry about. Out of state tuition for The University of South Carolina is about $30,000 a year.
For this tuition waiver, I would be taxed as if I made $80,000 a year. Fifteen percent of 30,000 is $4,500. So I’d be making around $15,000 (before normal taxes) and then would be losing a 3rd of my income that is already around the poverty level.
Graduate school is already a fairly privileged thing to do. You have to first be able to make it to college and then pay for the application process. I worked all through college and was able to save up enough to pay about a thousand dollars in application fees and testing fees for grad school.
Now if I had to lose a third of my already small income, I don’t think I could afford it. I already have undergrad loans. I have medical bills. Paying this extra tax is just ridiculous. It’s hurting the poorest citizens. It’s hurting future scientists and scholars. Graduate school would only be available for those who are independently wealthy.
Please contact your local legislator and tell them to vote NO on this tax plan.