Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) has reintroduced federal legislation that would exempt graduate students from paying taxes on scholarship money used for room and board or living expenses. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which requires students to pay taxes on money that is not used for tuition, required fees, books or supplies.
English and six co-sponsors first introduced the bill--called the Higher Education Affordability and Equity Act--in November 2003 (see article in January 2004 gradPSYCH), but it did not make it to the floor during the 108th Congress. Since its reintroduction in March, an additional 22 co-sponsors have signed on.
It's unclear whether the bill will make it to the floor this fall, says Alik Widge, the former legislative concerns chair for the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) and a graduate student in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.
In the meantime, NAGPS continues to advocate for the bill. The group organized legislative action days in February and September that brought more than 50 graduate students to Washington, D.C.
"We provide students with how-to training and talking points," Widge explains, "and then they meet with their representatives."
Students who want more information or would like to take part in a legislative action day can e-mail Widge.