NATIONWIDE - The GOP tax plan could strike a big blow to graduate students who receive tuition waivers.
Currently, that waived tuition isn't taxed, but the House's tax plan in its current form would change that. This could mean that waived tuition would be taxed as earned income, and could cost some students thousands of dollars in taxes.
University of Texas Ph.D. student Mia Konjikusic worries about what thousands of dollars in new taxes could mean for an already tight budget.
"Quite a bit of a strain. I think we'll still be able to get by, but it will be a lot less comfortable," Konjikusic said.
Konjikusic is researching brain defects. It's work that Konjikusic hopes will lead to treatments for hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid builds up in the brain.
Many graduate students in math and the sciences receive tuition waivers, which is essentially free or reduced tuition from their university in return for work on research projects or as teaching assistants.
This change in the tax code could have a particularly big impact on graduate students with waived out-of-state tuition. That tuition can be around double of what the normal in-state tuition is and would result in even higher taxes.
Some in higher education said that if the House's tax plan becomes reality, it'll be harder for universities to recruit diverse graduate students - especially low-income students who can't afford to pay the extra tax.
"If we're sort of only selecting kids from America that can afford to come and pay, then that's going to really hurt us. You know, we really need diversity," said Dell Medical School Assistant Professor Ryan Gray.
A change to the tax formula that experts say could lead to less graduate students studying science and math.