Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Proposed tax plan to make tuition waivers count as taxable income

Dear Graduate Students,

Please see the message below from the president of the Council of Graduate Schools. The message pertains to a proposed tax plan that could have significant effects on graduate and professional students. The plan would be to make tuition waivers count as taxable income.

Message from Suzanne T. Ortega, President of the Council of Graduate Schools:

As many of you are aware, the Council of Graduate Schools has been working closely with other higher education associations to advocate for our students and universities in the wake of proposed tax reform legislation. The proposed changes in the tax code would negatively impact the accessibility and affordability of graduate education, and as a result, the health of our nation’s workforce and economy.

I am writing to suggest five things that you can do now and urge you to use the resources listed below in your advocacy efforts on behalf of your students and institutions. Congress plans to move tax reform quickly, so we encourage you to act immediately.

  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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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


Suzanne T. Ortega
Council of Graduate Schools