There are a lot of anxious graduate students at universities around the country right now.
That's because to help pay for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts for U.S. corporations, the House Republican tax plan would raise taxes on grad students in a very big way. These students make very little money to begin with. And many would have to pay about half of their modest student stipends in taxes.
"The past week this is what I've been talking about with other graduate students and classmates. I think we're all shocked," says Tamar Oostrom. She's in her third year of getting her Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She and her classmates have been crunching the numbers. "This bill would increase our tax by 300 or 400 percent. I think it's absolutely crazy," Oostrom says.
In exchange for helping to teach courses or working with professors on research projects, MIT gives students such as Oostrom a modest $30,000 stipend. And as part of the deal she also doesn't pay tuition. The arrangement is typical for many students at MIT and other universities.
That tuition price tag at MIT is technically about $50,000, even though students like Oostrom don't have to pay it. Under the tax plan proposed by House Republicans, these students would have to report that tuition forgiveness as income.
Ryan Hill, a fourth-year Ph.D. student at MIT, already pays taxes on his $30,000 stipend. But, he says, adding in the value of his free tuition, he'd have to pay taxes as if he made $80,000 a year. And that's a massive difference for Hill and his wife, who works part time on top of caring for their new baby.