Newswise — The trend of students bearing the brunt of the rising costs of education is on the verge of becoming unbearably crushing. In recent years, student loans have been absolutely skyrocketing, as college tuition has gone up at a meteoric rate. Between 1980 and 2014, tuition increased 260 percent, nearly three times the rate of inflation.
“Indeed, if you’re looking for what really distinguishes this generation of college students from past ones, it’s not Facebook or fidget spinners or event trigger warnings and ‘safe spaces,’” says Annie McClanahan, assistant professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. “It’s student debt.”
Currently one of the most popular and effective programs to increase accessibility of a post-graduate education is Section 117(d) of the tax code, Tuition Reduction Assistance, which shelters graduate tuition waivers from being considered taxable income. The House bill, if passed into law, would eliminate that provision, putting the financial well-being of many graduate students in serious jeopardy, making graduate education essentially unaffordable to all but the wealthiest students.
“Working and middle-class students have the most to lose,” she says. “Decades of wage stagnation and employment volatility also mean that a college degree is more necessary than ever for economic survival.”
Annie can talk about the economics of higher education, and how this bill would impact graduate student debt.