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Op-ed from Dean Woodruff

Modified: April 18, 2018

Dear TGS Faculty:

I have heard from many of you regarding the proposed tax on tuition in the current republican house plan. We do not have a senate plan and much of the language in the house version is in some flux. That said, I sent the following op-ed to the New York Times which expresses the concern of The Graduate School regarding this topic. Please keep me in the loop as you learn more and feel free to advocate further on behalf of our students.

My best!


Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D.
Dean, The Graduate School and
Associate Provost for Graduate Education
Northwestern University

The Watkins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Feinberg School of Medicine

 Regressive Tax Proposal Punishes Graduate Students in Training

The proposed tax on graduate student tuition makes no sense. Republican house leaders have either been misinformed about the nature of tuition or are simply mean-spirited and want to punish students seeking masters, PhD’s, MFAs, JD’s, MBAs, MDs etc. “Tuition" is the sum of money paid to instructors and the instructional setting that enables learning and discovery. Students' stipends come from outside jobs, stipends for teaching assistantships, or work in the laboratory. Ordinary work and stipends are already taxed!  There are a lot of questions about specifics but if the proposal goes through as outlined, a Northwestern graduate student might see her tax bill quadruple - sliding her opportunity horizon beneath a living wage. The proposal erroneously infers that tuition is an ‘income’ - it is not, it is the means by which education is paid leading to our future lawyers, scientists, entrepreneurs, artists and journalists. By punishing the nation's graduate student population, the republican proposal is taxing us all and the lost income will be measured in lost intellectual capital for generations to come.  

Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D.
Dean, The Graduate School
Associate Provost for Graduate Education
Northwestern University

From the Dean