GET-UP Calls on the University of Pennsylvania to Oppose the Republican Tax Plan and to Institute a Plan to Secure Graduate Student Net Income if the Legislation is Passed
Most graduate students at Penn, like most graduate students in the U.S., are currently not taxed on the tuition waiver we receive in our respective programs. That money, over $40,000 a year in some programs, is charged to our accounts and, for those with fellowships, paid by the university. This money never appears in our bank accounts; it only exists as a line on our financial statements. This allows many of us to pursue our educations without undertaking hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. This week, Congress passed H.R. 1, the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," which includes a provision forcing us to pay taxes on tuition as if it were part of our income. If implemented, this would have the effect of making graduate education at Penn available only to the independently wealthy and bar many persons from already severely-underrepresented populations on campus from attaining a graduate education.

Currently, the University of Pennsylvania has provided very little information regarding what could be a substantial burden to our education, work, and lives. At the same time, Penn and its Ivy League peer institutions have engaged in a tax-avoidance scheme, costing the federal government billions of dollars by hiding university finances in offshore havens. As the millionaires and billionaires that run this university pay themselves more every year with ill-gotten gains, graduate student workers stand to lose up to $10,000 a year in taxes on income that we will never see in our bank accounts.

For these reasons, GET-UP demands that the administration release a detailed written plan for how graduate students will be protected from this loss of real wages regarding the potential removal of U.S. Code § 117 pertaining to Qualified Scholarships.

We invite both individual students and representatives of student organizations to sign onto this statement demanding that the administration protect its graduate student workers.

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In an effort to continue to gather information about graduate work at Penn, we ask that you fill out these additional fields. While not required, it does help to strengthen our structure and inform our campaign. Thank you!
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