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PHD-DESIGN  November 2017

PHD-DESIGN November 2017

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Subject:

Re: Concerning the Effect of the US Tax Bill on Graduate Student Tuition Waivers

From:

Maria Camacho <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 00:35:24 +1100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (85 lines)

Hi Ken, 

PhD Comics published one of his comics on the matter, calling for action. It can be seen here:
https://t.co/JIrELJ0M6i <https://t.co/JIrELJ0M6i>


Best, 



María Camacho
Swinburne University of Technology
Melbourne-Australia

> On 29 Nov 2017, at 5:44 pm, Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Dear Colleagues,
> 
> This is a note concerning a statement by scholarly and academic associations on a provision of the new tax law that affects graduate students. As the citizen of another nation, I am not going to wade into politics here. I am informing my American colleagues about this because this will affect many of your graduate students. 
> 
> —snip—
> 
> The American Philosophical Association (APA) today joined with 34 other academic organizations to issue a public statement opposing the provision in the tax reform bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would result in graduate school tuition waivers counting as taxable income. They currently do not.
> 
> https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.apaonline.org/resource/resmgr/advocacy/Statement_Opposing_US_Propos.pdf
> 
> The statement reads, in part:
> 
> Subjecting tuition waivers to income tax would dramatically increase the tax burden of hundreds of thousands of students. This would put graduate education out of reach for many, and would have the greatest impact on those groups already underrepresented in higher education. 
> 
> The provision would also likely force graduate schools to reduce the number of students they admit, so that they can compensate for increased tax liability with increased financial assistance to students in their programs. Reducing the number of students in graduate schools would have devastating effects across higher education and beyond—there would be fewer instructors to teach undergraduates and fewer researchers to pursue new breakthroughs that transform every aspect of American society. 
> 
> Other organizations signing onto the letter include the American Anthropological Association, the American Association of Geographers, the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, the Association of College & Research Libraries, the Modern Language Association, and many others.
> 
> The note concludes:
> 
> We call on Members of Congress to reject this proposal and stand up for the future of American higher education. We further urge the members of our organizations to contact their Members of Congress and encourage them to act to ensure tuition waivers remain tax-free.
> 
> The current Senate version of the tax bill would not count tuition waivers as taxable income. Which policy will make it into the final version of the law is not yet determined. There are some details here.
> 
> https://www.snopes.com/tax-plan-graduate-students/
> 
> The full statement and list of signatory associations is here.  
> 
> https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.apaonline.org/resource/resmgr/advocacy/Statement_Opposing_US_Propos.pdf
> 
> —snip—
> 
> The College Art Association, an organization that represents many designers, has signed this statement. No specific design association has yet done so. While this is important, it is even more important for individuals who oppose this provision of the tax bill to contact their congressman or congresswoman.
> 
> From the days when I lived in the United States, I recall visiting the office of a United States senator. In response to a question, I was told that senatorial staff — and ultimately the senator — used a rule of thumb in which they assumed that someone who cared enough to write a letter represented ten constituents who did not.
> 
> The most powerful appeal to a person in Congress is, “I’m a voter in your district and I oppose this bill.” A short paragraph with the fairness argument is politically acceptable across the spectrum. The argument that this will damage universities and graduate programs will seem like special pleading to many in the current Congress. 
> 
> Seen from abroad, the current tax legislation suggests clear priorities. For example, the so-called “carried interest” provision reduces the taxable income of the millionaires and billionaires who manage hedge funds. Since the current bill retains the carried interest provision in a bill that will most likely bring about deficits, something must be done to offset this loss of revenue. The authors of this legislation currently think that graduate students ought to pay for some of the lost tax income.
> 
> Many subscribers to this list are American citizens and voters. Whatever your political opinions, I hope that you will consider writing to your representative to protect your graduate students — and other students who benefit from tuition waivers.
> 
> Nothing is as important to a congresswoman or congressman as the potential action of a district voter in the next election. For some, it is important because they want to represent their constituents. For others, it is important because they fear losing votes because of actions such as this bill.
> 
> If you think that this is important, the most important thing you can do is to write a letter on paper that declares, “I’m a voter in your district and I oppose this bill.” Phone and emails to back the letter up also help.
> 
> Normally, I would not discuss political issues on a list such as this. The fact that this particular issue is important enough to warrant statements by scholarly and scientific associations to which many list members belong suggests to me that it is permissible to raise this issue for the individual consideration of those subscribers who live in the United States.
> 
> For the rest of you, I hope you forgive the intrusion. This provision of the current United States tax bill will affect the design research community as well. And it may also affect American students who receive tuition waivers at universities outside the United States, making it difficult for them to continue or complete their studies.
> 
> Ken Friedman
> 
> Ken Friedman | Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University | Shanghai, China ||| Email [log in to unmask] | Academia http://swinburne.academia.edu/KenFriedman | D&I http://tjdi.tongji.edu.cn 
> 
> --
> 
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