Penn State Faculty, Grad Students Protest Tax Plan

Nov 29, 2017

Penn State faculty, grad students and supporters rallied at the Allen Street gates in State College Wednesday. They were protesting a tax hike for graduate students included in the GOP House tax plan. 

One member of the group, Margarita Hernandez, is in her first year working toward a PhD in anthropology.

“We already get paid enough to live or so. But, that extra tax is going to make that so it’s not feasible anymore,” Hernandez said.

Adriana Rizzo, a first year PhD student in geosciences, said the change would be an economic hardship for a lot of students.

“I think this really shows that our people in Congress don’t value education,” Rizzo said.

They were among the crowd that chanted, held signs and encouraged others to contact their Congressmen.

Penn State associate professor Michelle Rodino-Colocino organized the protest, which was one of many around the country.

“It’s an incredible and unfair tax burden they’re putting on some of the poorest people who are actually coming to the university, in many cases, as a means of upward mobility,” she said.

The U.S. House tax bill would make the tuition waivers many graduate students get part of their taxable income. Those grad students would have to pay an average of $2,000 more a year in taxes.

The Senate bill does not include the same changes.