November 16, 2017
Contact: Ted Bordelon
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314 Action Slams GOP Tax Plan for Impact on Ph.D. Students

314 Action’s UC Berkeley Campus Chapter Member Vetri Velan Authored Study Detailing Tax Hikes for Ph.D. Students

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, members of 314 Action called out GOP House members for supporting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which would disproportionately affect Ph.D. students in the United States -- particularly in STEM disciplines.
As Ph.D. student and UC Berkeley Campus Coordinator for 314 Action, Vetri Velan, notes in his working paper titled “How Does the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ Affect Ph.D. Students,” most Ph.D. programs in the U.S. offer tuition remission to their students in exchange for a teaching appointment or research assistantship. The GOP tax plan disproportionately increases the tax burden of these students by eliminating the deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses. Some graduate students could experience a tax increase of more than 200 percent.
Velan’s paper is attached to this press release.
Shaughnessy Naughton, founder of 314 Action, released the following statement:
“At a time when we see young people saddled with debt just to pay for an education, Congress is now financing a corporate tax cut on their shoulders.   Considering the sacrifice and effort that is required to successfully attain a Ph.D., this provision to make graduate school an even more expensive endeavor is nothing short of a slap in the face. Our country’s tax code is in many ways a reflection of what we value, and this plan sends a clear message that the GOP does not value those who are pursuing higher education at universities across the country. Shame on the Congresspeople who voted for this bill, which will hurt the United States’ ability to be a global leader of innovation and research.”
Vetri Velan released the following statement:
“As a Ph.D. student, I was alarmed by the results of the analysis I conducted around this tax plan. Students at public universities would see their taxes increase by as much as 60%, and students at private universities could see an increase by a factor of 2 to 4. The pursuit of knowledge at the graduate level is not an easy endeavor to undertake, and this tax plan adds unnecessary barriers for students who are often already scraping by financially.”
314 Action is the largest and only resource specifically created for scientists and STEM professionals seeking assistance running for office. 314 Action is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) that was founded by members of the STEM community, grassroots supporters and political activists. Formed in July 2016, 314 Action has over 225,000 active members and donors across the United States. 314 Action is concerned that STEM education in the United States is falling further and further behind the rest of the world, that our political leaders continue to deny scientific facts and that Congress fails to fully fund scientific research so we can solve pressing issues. For more information, visit