Proposed Tax Reform and Tuition Waivers


Last updated 12/14/2017

A number of you have written or called outlining your grave concerns about the proposal to tax graduate student tuition waivers.  The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) has taken a leadership role in addressing the effects of such legislation upon current and prospective graduate students.  These concerns have also been set forth by journals or sites such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. Major organizations such as the National Association of Graduate Professional Students (NAGPS) and Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE) have also issued statements, as have a number of universities.

The very useful summary of "Five Things You Can Do" by Suzanne Ortega, President of CGS, is below. In addition, we have assembled a list of resources and readings that may be of help to you as we work to assure access to graduate education. Click here to see an updated resource page that includes the tax bill conferees and some of the House and Senate tax bill provisions that will need to be reconciled before moving into a new congressional vote.


1. Educate your colleagues, and your federal and state policymakers, about the broad impacts of the proposed tax reforms on students and universities. CGS has collaborated with ACE and other higher education associations on this succinct information page on Tax Reform and Higher Education.

2. Make these impacts more concrete by sharing CGS’s resource on Tax Reform Examples, which describes how tax liabilities would impact individual students in a variety of situations.

Encourage graduate students to join you in your advocacy efforts. Support them as they explain in their own words how changes in the tax code would affect them and their families.

4. Consider using examples from CGS’s GradImpact Gallery to explain how graduate education improves the lives of all Americans, not just graduate degree holders. Consider submitting your own story to CGS if you have not already done so.

5. Work with your government relations representative so that they have the information they need to make the case for graduate students and graduate education. If your institution is compiling infographics and/or resources, please send them to us to use through the CGS social media channels. (Example)

Please continue to follow CGS’s updates on the proposed legislation on the CGS website and in the Government Affairs Weekly Update. We are looking forward to continuing to work with you on this critically important advocacy effort. If you have any questions about the proposed legislation, please contact Beth Buehlmann at or Kenneth Polishchuk at