Graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, are protesting the tax bill passed by the US House of Representatives, the Verge reports.
Many graduate students, especially PhD students in the sciences, receive tuition waivers from the universities where they are pursuing their degree. The House tax bill would consider this waiver income and tax it as such, increasing students' tax bills.
Graduate students at Berkeley are calling on university administrations to both push back against the tax plan as well as questioning why they are charged tuition when it is then waived, the Verge reports. "What would really solve this issue is if higher education were truly public, truly affordable," Margaret Mary Downey, elected representative for Berkeley's graduate student union, tells the Verge.
Over at NPR, the University of Rochester's Adam Frank writes in an editorial that graduate students are already paid little — they often receive a stipend of $20,000 a year — for the long hours they put in. He adds that adding increasing students' taxes will increase their financial stress and "make it even harder to find people willing to be students who must run the gauntlet that is science graduate training."