Brown University Graduate Students Protest GOP Tax Plan

Nov 30, 2017

A few dozen graduate students at Brown University participated in a nationwide walkout Wednesday to protest the Republican tax plan making its way through Congress. The House version of the bill would add income taxes to graduate school tuition when it is covered by colleges and universities.

Felicia Bishop Denaud is getting an Africana Studies degree at Brown. She says higher taxes would strain her budget.

“I’m married, so moving my husband here, you know uprooting him from his job, to pursue my dream, has required a lot of sacrifice between us,” Denaud said. “And we’ve stretched our finances pretty thin, and I can’t imagine having to do that anymore.”

Dennis Hogan is pursuing a PhD in comparative literature at Brown. He lives on about $30,000 a year from a stipend provided by the university. If he paid taxes on his $50,000-a-year tuition, Hogan says Brown estimates a significant tax increase.

“The tax burden for a graduate student would go up to something on the order of $17,000 a year, once you consider both state and local taxes,” Hogan explained. “It would be a really significant cut in my income.”

The increase would eat up more than half of Hogan’s stipend.

Graduate students walked out on campuses across the country to protest the Republican tax plan, although the version now making its way through the U.S. Senate does not contain the tax on graduate student tuition. That provision is part of the bill that cleared the U.S. House of Representatives.  

Both the House and Senate versions of the bill would tax on college and university endowments.