November 28, 2017

Tax reform and graduate students

In recent weeks, members of our university community have understandably been very concerned about provisions within the Congressional tax proposals that could negatively impact the individual finances of students, faculty, and staff as well as the university’s ability to continue to provide affordable education and research training of the highest quality.

In the foreground among the House bill’s provisions directly related to graduate education, we are forcefully advocating against the repeal of 117(d), which would treat the tuition associated with graduate assistantships as taxable income, and the repeal of the student loan interest deduction. These provisions would also negatively impact staff and faculty – and their families – who take advantage of Stanford’s tuition assistance programs and who rely on student loans to support their education.

The current Senate bill does not include these provisions, but we are not presuming anything is off the table as the legislative process continues. In addition, both the House and Senate bills include the imposition of a tax on university endowments, which provide student financial aid and support graduate education, among support for other functions integral to our mission.

Working collaboratively, university leaders and graduate students have been actively advocating against these and other provisions that would negatively impact Stanford and higher education nationally. You can read more about these advocacy efforts on our web page, which will be updated as the legislative process continues.

I want to share with the entire university community two communications that have been sent to our graduate students addressing the pending legislation, its potential impacts, and Stanford’s responses thus far, the first on November 8th  and a follow-up message on November 28th.

Thank you for your interest and continued support for all our students and for each other, as we move forward in this context of uncertainty.