Grad Students Fret Over Tax Reform

Jacob Strinden

Last week, President Kaler sent out an email to all students, faculty, and staff at the University of Minnesota laying out why he believes that the current tax reform proposals will negatively students and the university as a whole.  Less than two days later over 200 graduate students walked out of class to protest the proposed tax changes.  President Kaler’s email makes it seem like congressional republicans are seeking to raise taxes on students by eliminating some small tax deductions that they take.  Claiming this is not only untrue, it is demonstrably false.  

The average graduate student will see his or her taxes go down under the tax reform plans under discussion, not up.  True, the house plan eliminates a $2,500 deduction on loan interest, but it increases the standard deduction (what 70% of the nation uses) by $5,650. In other words, graduate students will come out ahead on the Republican plan.  

Not only will graduates see their tax bills decrease, they will see their wages grow by at least $4,000 thanks to tax reform, according to the Council of Economic Advisors.   This means that tax reform will improve the standard of living for all Americans.  

This email from President Kaler and the walk out staged by teaching assistants are not based in reality. Rather they are politically motivated scare tactics with the goal of convincing students that Republicans are out to hurt students and the poor.  They claim tax reform will hurt students and the university, this is untrue.  The nonpartisan Tax Foundation has projected tax reform will create millions of jobs and increase wages by thousands of dollars a year. Sure, this plan eliminates a few of the carve outs for higher education, but it replaces them with bigger deductions and lower federal tax bills for everyone.  And not only will taxes be lower for students in school and after they graduate, their working wages will be higher.  The Republican tax plan is good for students and higher education, it will mean lower taxes, more jobs, higher wages, and a dynamic economy that works for everyone.