Penn's protest was organized by activists with its graduate student unionization campaign, which, like other unionization efforts at private universities, has been grappling to gain recognition from the university.
Graduate students are now able to teach or research in return for a stipend that goes toward living costs.
"It's a very wealthy institution", she said, adding that documents from the Paradise Papers leak reported by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists showed that the university invested funds into offshore accounts located in tax havens. The bill proposes eliminating existing tax waivers on tuition as well as student loan interest tax reductions. However, we must oppose legislation that would undermine our core missions of education and research and price prospective students and their families out of a secondary education at a time when a highly advanced workforce is needed to propel our state and our nation forward.
Organizers said the House proposal would dramatically increase taxable income for grad workers, undermine the quality and competitiveness of American graduate programs, and make graduate school unaffordable.
Right now these working graduate students pay taxes only on their stipend income, not waived tuition fees. "I want to contribute to the science that's done in our country, and to do that I need to save some money by living in an unfavorable housing situation with five roommates", Nicoludis said. Psychology professor Dr. Stan Huey was one of the handful of faculty members supporting the grad students. This fact surprises many people, so it is worth repeating: "doctoral students at Yale do not pay any tuition".
"But I feel the university and COGS are really on the same page on this", she said. Balmes receives a stipend of about $30,000 a year for the work she does as a graduate student, slightly less than a Seattle minimum-wage earner makes annually (the city's minimum wage is $15 per hour). It's aimed at adult learners and primarily helps non-traditional, part-time and graduate students, particularly those with low or moderate incomes, the UI said. "For someone like me, it's impossible to imagine staying at Penn running-up debt or asking somebody at home for extra money". By 2020, the university will have provided almost $200 million in need-based aid to students through efficiencies and innovative funding. "It's not as though individual universities can track moment by moment negotiations on federal bills of the complexity that you see with the possible tax bill".
Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, dean of the UI Graduate College, said the UI has been working closely with national education associations to educate legislators about the tuition waiver tax and other education provisions.
However, for some graduate students this may be insufficient, and there are people who expect the administration to take a more proactive stance in the form of contingency plans or outlined strategies that people can understand and to which they can relate. And, if graduates earn more than non-graduates because their studies have made them more productive, then university education will boost economic growth.
"I am very sure I am going to walk out, but it is not a decision I take lightly", said Jake Grossman, University Ph.D. candidate in ecology, evolution, and behavior.
"Without us, the university would grind to a halt", Kohn said during the protest.
"It would mean I would either have to get a job, several other jobs, or drop out of grad school", Jess Issacharoff said.
Hundreds of graduate students at UC Berkeley protest the GOP tax plan on November 29, 2017.
Those studying with student visas can not seek employment off-campus to ease the additional cost burden. "We may be making half of what we thought we (would) to go on and do research for universities". "Officially, we are not allowed to do any part-time jobs".
The impact of the potential tax change would not be the same on all students.
According to numbers that Hyler and her fellow graduate students have crunched, under the current plan a single graduate student who is from outside the state pays 7 percent of their income to taxes. "We already lose so many smart students who go into business or something because the sciences are too expensive". "We will have to leave".