A Letter to the President

Posted on Posted in Advocacy, Leadership, News

A letter issued today by the GPSA Leadership and Assembly to Dr. Michael Crow in regard to the impact on higher education by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Graduate and Professional Student Association
Arizona State University
851 S. Forest Mall Tempe, AZ 85281

November 14, 2017

The Office of the President

Dear President Crow:

We, the elected representatives of the graduate and professional students at ASU, are here to share our concerns about the proposed tax reform bill, H.R. 1, (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). We seek your support in (1) clarifying to the student body how the bill’s provisions will impact graduate students and (2) opposing any negative impacts to the financial wellness of ASU’s graduate student community.

The ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) opposes the following provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

 

The ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) opposes the following provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Repeal of the following provisions from the Tax Reform Bill of 2014:
    • Sec. 117(d) allows ASU to lower the cost of graduate education for their graduate students who are serving as teaching or research assistants as part of their academic training or as employees without tuition reductions counting as taxable income. A repeal of Section 117(d) would lead to an unaffordable increase in taxable income and make the pursuit of a graduate degree more challenging, if not impossible, for many students.
    • Sec. 127 allows employers to provide tuition reimbursement to employees, tax free (up to $5,250), incentivizing the private sector’s investment in the advancement of its employees and encouraging partnerships with colleges and universities.
    • The Student Loan Interest Deduction
    • The Hope Scholarship Credit
    • The Lifetime Learning Credit
  • Altering the American Opportunity Tax Credit to eliminate tax benefits for part-time students, graduate students and non-traditional students (taking more than five years to graduate)

We request a statement of opposition to the above provisions from the Office of the President (or from Arizona State University).

Additionally, we ask that you:

  1. Share our concerns before the University Council Meeting, November 14, 2017, (later today) urging them to publically oppose provisions of the the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that will negatively impact the financial wellness of ASU’s graduate and professional students.
  2. Share our concerns and your support of ASU GPSA before the Arizona Board of Regents at their Tucson meeting on November 16th, 2017. On Friday, November 17th, 2017, the GPSA Assembly will vote on a resolution reflecting these requests.

We have sought aid from six different departments at ASU (Tax Services, Student Accounts, Graduate College, Human Resources, Office of National Policy Affairs, and ASU Legal Services) in addition to the the Arizona Board of Regents. We appreciate assistance from a few offices, but most of the departments we have contacted have been unable or unwilling to offer any help or guidance. Furthermore, we hosted multiple ‘call to congress days,’ contacted independent tax professionals, and tried to connect with our national representatives (including Rep. Schweikert, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee) and have received limited responses.

Despite the absence of these harmful provisions in the Senate’s current bill, we must continue to actively and openly oppose their addition to any future proposals. As the nation’s largest and most innovative public university, we urge you to support your students and do everything in your power to prevent the devastating impacts these cuts would have on higher education.

Thank you for standing with us; we look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Samantha Hernandez, President
Michelle Sullivan Govani, Vice President of External Affairs
Sravani Vadlamani, Vice President of Internal Affairs
Claire Crowther, Assembly President/Member, CLAS (Natural Sciences)
George A. Brusch, IV, Director of Legislative Affairs
Sarah Geren, Director of Advocacy
Carlo Altamirano-Allende, Director of International Students Affairs
Lydia Ross, Assembly President Pro Tempore/Member, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Nicholas Weller, Assembly Member, School of Sustainability
Sarah Hall, Assembly Member, CLAS (Social Sciences)
Francis Frederick K. Agbemade, Assembly Member, CLAS (Humanities)
Alexis Abboud, Assembly Member, CLAS (At-Large)
Chelsea Johnson, Assembly Member, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Madhankumar Arulanandam, Assembly Member, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Yash Garg, Assembly Member, Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering
Eran Schweitzer, Assembly Member, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Marcela Jarquin, Assembly Member, School for the Future of Innovation in Society
Ishan Garg, Assembly Member, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Alexander Meszler, Assembly Member, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Amelia Miholca, Assembly Member, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Arjona Andoni, Assembly Member, W.P. Carey McCord School of Business Full Time MBA
Abdurazak Abdurhman, Assembly Member, At Large