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Scientists Ask Congress to Resist Changing Graduate Education Tax Provisions

Visit the AAAS Force for Science website to follow the latest updates related to AAAS advocacy activities.

Scientific and engineering societies stated that certain tax provisions included in the House-passed tax bill would have an outsized impact in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. | Katie Walker, UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science and 67 scientific and engineering societies urged members of the tax bill conference committee to resist provisions included in the House-passed tax bill related to graduate education in a letter delivered to Capitol Hill on Dec. 7.

“By making advanced education less affordable, it is likely to drive some students away from seeking higher education. Because a majority of graduate students are in the key areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), these provisions will have an outsized impact in the sciences,” the Dec. 7 letter said. “Repealing the very provisions that allow graduate students to continue to study in critical STEM fields means that we will be shutting the door on new opportunities for discovery, exploration and innovation.”

In particular, the letter highlights the need to protect the tax status of the student loan interest deduction, graduate student tuition waivers, the Hope Scholarship Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and educational assistance programs. The House bill, which passed on Nov. 16, would consider the tuition breaks as taxable income and would eliminate employer tax deductions for providing educational help to workers. Science groups had previously sent letters to Senate leadership and House leadership.

[Associated image: Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)]