The current version of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, would eliminate beneficial tax provisions for graduate education and would disproportionately harm graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) — ultimately damaging the very economy it seeks to strengthen. STEM graduates today represent the next generation helping to propel the U.S. invention and innovation pipeline to create breakthroughs, new jobs and economic growth.
The proposed repeal of “qualified tuition reduction” would potentially double or triple the taxable income of graduate students, making graduate education unaffordable. According to a 2012 U.S. Department of Education report, 60 percent of graduate students are pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines. If the proposed repeals are enacted, it is anticipated that a significant number of STEM students will forego their graduate education, thereby undermining the U.S. innovation pipeline that is so critical to job creation and economic growth.
ACS respectfully requests that the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives remove this proposed repeal provision. The Society stands ready to work cooperatively with U.S. policymakers to enact policies that will strengthen the STEM disciplines at all levels of education. Toward attainment of this goal, ACS calls attention to its adopted Science Education Policy statement, as well as an ACS Presidential Commission task force report — Advancing Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences.
The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.