Figure from the Shiny App

The Impact of the 2017 GOP Tax Bill on Grad Students

The Impact of the 2017 GOP Tax Bill on Grad Students

In November 2017, Republican members of the House of Representatives in the US proposed a tax bill that contained a provision that would make tuition waivers taxable. This meant that any graduate student receiving a tuition waiver while they pursue their degree would have to include the total tuition cost as part of their taxable income in addition to any stipend, even though tuition is not directly received as income.

I created a Shiny app where students could input their annual stipends and tuition costs to estimate their federal income taxes with and without this provision. The goal was to raise awareness of this harmful provision by allowing students to easily visualize how this bill would personally affect them, and to also encourage people to contact their representatives in opposition of this provision.

The app was shared widely across social media, including a mention from March for Science and a write-up in Science Magazine.

Benjamin Ackerman
Quantitative Scientist

I’m a biostatistician and data scientist interested in improving public health and promoting social good.