Tuesday, 07 November 2017 15:06

ASM Letter to Congress Regarding Tax Reform and Tuition Exemptions

The Honorable Kevin Brady
Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means
1011 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Richard Neal
Ranking Member, House Committee on Ways and Means
341 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Brady and Representative Neal:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is concerned about provisions in H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that would adversely affect graduate education in the United States.   The ASM urges Congress to enact a tax relief bill that does not include provisions that makes higher education less accessible in the United States.

H.R. 1 would repeal an important provision to exclude tuition waivers and tuition exemptions from income for graduate students. Section 117(d)(5) mitigates the tax liability of graduate students teaching and doing research as part of their academic programs. Repeal of this provision would result in thousands of graduate students being subjected to a major tax increase. This provision is essential to research at major universities, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Repeal of the tuition exemption provision would discourage an entire generation of young researchers and undermine science education in the United States, which is not in the national interest.


Peggy Cotter, Ph.D.
President, American Society for Microbiology