Shaheen Shares NH Graduate Students’ Stories on Senate Floor as Their Future Hangs in the Balance
**Shaheen Expresses Hope that the Provision that Drastically Increases Taxes on Students Will Be Removed from Final Agreement**
(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor today to discuss her opposition to Congressional Republicans’ tax bill and how it would raise taxes on students and make it harder for them to afford higher education. Specifically, the House-passed version of the bill would eliminate the student loan interest deduction, which nearly 80,000 Granite Staters took advantage of in 2015. Shaheen also pointed out that the tax bill would make it more expensive to get an advanced degree because it eliminates tax-free waivers for tuition assistance, which would put graduate school financially out of reach for many students. Shaheen, citing news reports on the final version of the tax bill, expressed hope that both of these provisions had been removed from the legislation.
During her remarks, Shaheen shared the story of Tyler Kane who is a pursing a master’s degree in environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire. “[Tyler] told me that he already owes close to $40,000 in student loans and works nearly 60 hours a week. After paying rent and other expenses, his stipend leaves him with less than $200 a month. If his tuition waiver becomes taxable, that would be a tax increase of $2,500 and it would wreck his budget leaving him with a $33 a month hole. Along with many of his graduate student colleagues, he would have to consider dropping out of school. It makes no sense to increase the burden of student debt and to impose new taxes on graduate students struggling to get by so we can give the biggest corporations in this country and the wealthiest a tax cut.”
Shaheen urged her colleagues to consider tax overhaul legislation that would take America forward, saying, “Tax reform should be about helping Americans to prepare for the jobs of 21st century, it shouldn’t make it harder to afford college or graduate school. Tax reform should be about strengthening the middle class, not burdening it with higher taxes. Tax reform should be about growing the economy, not growing the deficits and debt.”