Published: June 14, 2018 By

Dear CU Boulder Graduate Community,

I am writing concerning the impacts of proposed federal tax legislation on graduate students and graduate education. We in the Graduate School are in close contact with CU’s federal relations team as we follow federal tax reform legislation proposals and analyze their effects on our graduate students and master’s and doctoral programs.

Among other impacts on higher education, the House bill would eliminate the Student Loan Interest Deduction (SLID) and repeal Section 117 (d)(5), which treats qualified tuition deductions as a tax-exempt benefit for graduate students who are serving as student faculty (TAs, GPTIs, GAs, RAs). Eliminating Section 117 (d)(5) would make graduate education more expensive and less accessible. As CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano wrote in his CU Boulder Today article on Nov. 10, “On our campus alone, this change would subject many graduate students to additional tax liability with no new funds to address that liability.” Please note that the Senate released policy highlights from its bill on Nov. 9. The Senate bill retains the student loan interest deduction (SLID) and does not repeal Section 117 (d)(5). We will continue to monitor the impacts of proposed tax legislation on graduate education in the coming days and weeks. 

The Association of American Universities (AAU), of which CU Boulder is a member, issued a statement about the proposed House bill on Nov. 2 and a statement about the proposed Senate bill on Nov.10.  In addition, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), to which CU Boulder also belongs, has issued information about the proposed tax reform that graduate students, faculty, and staff may find helpful.

CU Boulder graduate students contribute to our campus and community as students, researchers, teachers, artists, performers, and so much more, and they truly are tomorrow’s leaders. We will continue to advocate for them in every way we can and in accordance with CU’s policy with respect to federal lobbying.


Ann Schmiesing
Dean of the Graduate School
Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs
Professor of German