Tax Plan Harmful for Students


By WSN Editorial Board

This week, the Republican-controlled House passed the much-anticipated tax reform bill. President Donald Trump is hoping to pass the bill — which proposes the most significant tax reform in three decades — before Christmas as his first major legislative accomplishment. However, the bill has faced immense criticism for cutting taxes for corporations while doing virtually nothing for the middle class. And as NYU President Andrew Hamilton pointed out this week via email, this plan will be a disaster for higher-education students.

Although most of the press coverage regarding this tax plan has focused on the tax cuts for corporations, this proposal will take money away from millions of higher-education students — both Republicans and Democrats. For example, private universities with endowments of more than $50 million could face a new $35,000 tax. This will likely lead universities to raise already historically high tuitions. In addition, Americans with student loans will no longer be able to reduce their tax burdens up to $2,500. Most devastatingly, the tax plan forces graduate students to include financial aid that they receive from universities while calculating income. As one graduate student pointed out in The Washington Post, this could cost some graduate students more than $10,000 a year. This is just the beginning of the horror this tax plan will impose on college and graduate students.

Despite all of this, Republicans continue to advertise this bill as a tax break for the middle class. Furthermore, Trump ran on a platform of promising to help middle class Americans, specifically students struggling with debt. However, this bill does just the opposite. Once again, Trump has proven himself to be a fraud. Even though raising taxes on higher-education students sounds like something no one would be in favor of, 227 Republicans voted in favor of doing just that. This leaves the bill just a short Senate vote away from passing. Students everywhere, conservatives and liberals alike, must fight to make sure this does not happen.

In the United States, there are already 44 million people who owe $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. In other words, college is already very expensive. We should be doing everything we can to make college more affordable, yet this Republican bill does just the opposite. In a country where we encourage people to work hard and to go on to pursue higher education, this seems objectively backwards.

A version of this appeared in the Monday, Nov. 8 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]