The US Senate passed a version of the GOP tax plan last week, though the upper chamber’s version lacks the House’s tax on tuition waivers. With the bill headed to committee, it’s unclear what will emerge. At UC Berkeley and other campuses across the country, students rallied to protest the impact a tuition waiver tax would have on higher education.
At the Berkeley protest on Wednesday, Professor Wendy Brown told the audience, “The combination of taxing ghost tuition payments and eliminating the tax deduction for interest on student loans threatens to place higher education out of reach for any but the well off. It threatens to return us to a time when universities were the exclusive purview of a leisured class.” At the end of her speech, she called for a new commitment to state support for higher education. “Were the state to reinvest in public higher education,” she said, “the tuition tax problem and the student debt problem would literally melt away.”
GOP Tax Plan
11/30 – Speech Transcript: The Grad Tax Is an Assault on the Public Good (Academe): Brown compares the GOP’s plan to indentured servitude.
11/29 – Op-Ed: Universities are also to blame for the GOP’s ‘grad student tax’ (WaPo): A Yale grad student argues that charging STEM graduate students tuition they never pay is a technique for the university to make more money by justifying the diversion of grant money to overhead. For example, a student without an NSF fellowship has her Yale tuition paid by Yale. Were that student to win an NSF fellowship, the federal government would pay Yale around $20,000 a year for tuition.
12/1 – Grad Students Protest GOP’s Tax Hike and Prepare to Fight About Tuition (TheVerge): The website provides coverage of Berkeley’s rally and places the issue in wider context.
11/29 – Hundreds rally at UC Berkeley to protest proposed graduate student tax hike (Berkeleyside): The local website offered commentary of Wednesday’s rally.
Other Berkeley News
11/27 – UC Berkeley lecturer apologizes for anti-Semitic retweet (DailyCal): Ethnic Studies lecturer Hatem Bazian said he did not intend to retweet an anti-Semitic meme. A Jewish student group criticized Bazian’s response as not being a “genuine apology.”
11/30 – UC Berkeley receives first-ever bitcoin donation valued at more than $50K (DailyCal): The lab studies the technology which underlies bitcoin.
11/30 – Documentary follows UC Berkeley students who were incarcerated (Berkeleyside): A new documentary follows the transition from prison to higher ed.