To: UChicago Graduate Students
From: David Nirenberg, Executive Vice Provost
Subject: Potential Impact of Tax Proposals
Date: November 10, 2017
As you are likely aware, there is tax legislation under consideration in Congress that could have damaging effects on institutions of higher education and their students. The University is deeply concerned about any action that could impose new taxes on our students or impair our ability to provide financial aid or make other essential investments in our students’ education. These plans have caused understandable concern for many graduate students. We have been engaged on these issues since the proposal emerged last week, and wanted you to know of our concerns and the steps we are taking to address them.
The U.S. House of Representatives is continuing to shape its proposal, and the Senate has also weighed in with its own recommendations. While it is impossible to predict what the final legislation will contain, or whether it will become law, the current House proposal has the potential to increase the tax liability of graduate students. Both the House and Senate proposals also include an excise tax on certain nonprofit private university endowments, which could affect funds the University uses to provide financial aid. We agree with the Association of American Universities, which has called the excise tax “a short-sighted move that will only harm students and their families.”
The University of Chicago is collaborating with numerous other institutions and associations, including the AAU, in opposing these changes. This is a fluid situation that we are monitoring closely, and we will continue to engage directly with the Illinois congressional delegation and other key lawmakers to convey our serious concerns. For more information on these issues as they evolve — and context on how the current tax code helps students and families — you may wish to consult the online resources maintained by the Council of Graduate Schools. Since its founding the University of Chicago has championed the view that graduate education is a national—indeed a global—good. Please be assured that the University’s leadership is doing everything it can to transmit to legislators in Washington the negative consequences of enacting this proposal.