Make your voice heard on tax plan

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Richard Hughey Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education; Herbie Lee Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Tyrus Miller Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Jaye Padgett Vice Provost for Student Success

As you have probably heard, both houses of Congress have now passed tax reform bills that are very harmful to universities and their students. Of the two bills, the one passed by the House of Representatives is much worse for us. Last week one of us heard from students who marched to Kerr Hall to express their frustration and anger over this. We share their frustration and anger. Universities are already graduating too few students to keep our economy healthy, and a major reason for this is that college is becoming increasingly unaffordable to students and their families. With states investing less and less in higher education, universities are finding it harder and harder to fulfill their promise of social mobility and educational equity. We need more support for universities, not less.

Though we did not want to be here, there is still time to make your voice heard and influence the outcome. Congress has to work out what version of the two bills to pass. Here are just two differences between the House and Senate versions:

- The House version, but not the Senate one, would tax tuition waivers that graduate students receive when they are teaching or research assistants. Graduate student employees never receive tuition waivers as part of their very modest income; tuition waivers just make graduate school affordable for many people. Taxing this 'income' could increase taxes for some graduate students by as much as 400 percent. This is unacceptable.

- The House version, but not the Senate one, would eliminate a $2,500 tax deduction for people paying off student loans, tax deductions for people paying tuition and fees, and certain other deductions that benefit education. Many of our students and their families rely on these tax deductions to make college affordable.

Click here to learn about other negative impacts of this legislation on education.

We have already been voicing our strong objections to provisions like this. (See this SF Chronicle op-ed piece too.) More needs to be done now, and there is still time. One thing you can do is reach out to your congressional representatives and let them know your opinion. UCAN, the UC Advocacy Network, makes this easy to do. Click here for more information. You could be emailing or leaving phone messages for your representatives within seconds.