Republicans drafted the bill with the premise that it would simplify the nation’s tax code and cut rates for middle-income Americans. To help pay for the $1.5 trillion tax cut, lawmakers eliminated many individual tax breaks, arguing the overall plan would compensate for any lost benefits. The result: while many families and businesses would see tax cuts, a large percentage of undergraduates and graduate students would see their tax bills increase, some dramatically.
In addition to campus employees, many doctoral students would see huge tax increases, since the tuition that universities waive for them in exchange for working on campus as researchers and teaching assistants would be deemed taxable income. At expensive research universities like Stanford and Harvard, the new tax bills could swamp graduate-student stipends.