President Kaler sent this message to the entire University community and a similar message to civic, business and political leaders across the state.
As the federal tax bill works its way through the U.S. Senate, our graduate students who work as teaching (TA) and research assistants (RA) urgently need our help. Right now.
The bill already passed by the House of Representatives would hit our more than 5,000 TAs, RAs, and other graduate assistants (GA) especially hard, and so, negatively impact the highly-skilled talent force we prepare at the University of Minnesota, a workforce that fuels our state's economic vitality. And this bill would likely discourage many of our undergraduates from pursuing advanced degrees. The fact is this tax bill will affect us all.
Here's what it would do to our grad students who teach our undergrads and who collaborate with our world-class faculty. The bill would count tuition reduction for TAs, RAs, and GAs as taxable income. That means if a TA receives a $1,000 tuition waiver for teaching, that $1,000 would be taxed. This provision would see our graduate students' taxes increase but without any additional dollars in their pockets. And, if the University has to provide additional compensation to offset the tax increases, it could mean finding up to $81 million a year, which would have a direct negative effect on our entire University budget.