Graduate students around the country walked out of their classes, office hours, and research labs to protest the House Republican tax plan Wednesday.
“This plan is going to be disastrous for higher ed,” said Jack Nicoludis, a Harvard graduate student in chemistry, who helped organize a protest on the campus. He said the bill would more than double his taxes.
In exchange for teaching courses or teaming up with professors on research projects, universities don’t charge many Ph.D. students tuition, and give them modest stipends. The House bill would end the tax break students get on the value of their tuition waivers.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Tuesday called for a “major shift” in higher education – one that prioritizes programs like apprenticeships over four-year college degrees.
“For decades now, we have given the subtle, or not so subtle, message that the only path for a successful life is a four-year degree,” DeVos said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council conference in Washington.
“There is really no traditional student anymore,” she said, underscoring the small percentage of high school graduates who enroll full time in a four-year college and graduate within four years.
As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to keep college within reach for all Americans and encourage institutions to make the costs of college more transparent, the U.S. Department of Education today updated college costs lists on its College Affordability and Transparency Center.
“These lists support our efforts to make college more accessible and to help families make informed decisions on the single most important investment students can make in their own futures,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Empowering students and families with this information is critical to reaching President Obama’s 2020 goal for America to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”