Higher education under attack with new legislation

Under the Trump administration, education as a whole has certainly taken a hit. First with the appointment of Betsy DeVos, who holds no education degree being put in charge of the Education department. Now, the new Republican tax plan, is taking it a step further.

The new Republican tax plan gets rid of the tax credit for grad students and is going to impact students who are going to school for their Masters the most. About 145,000 graduate students would take a big hit under the House tax plan, said CNN Money. This will mean nothing for wealthy students, but for others who do not come from means, this is one more hardship that they will have to unnecessarily face if this goes through. According to POLITICO, college presidents contended the tax proposals (H.R. 1 (115)) would be a devastating blow that would make college — especially graduate school — more expensive, and further out of reach of low- and middle-income families.

This divide is the result of a rift; opposing beliefs in the in educational system. A recent poll from Pew found 58 percent of Republicans view colleges negatively, while 72 percent of Democrats view them positively. This lack of support is partly from the belief that the elite will remain untouchable, with a wider gap between the have and the have-nots and the other from the belief that college is nonessential. While these two points-of-view differ greatly, they have this in common: They don’t care for the in-betweeners, who will mostly be affected by this.

Part of the reason that people are fighting so hard over this is to preserve higher education’s reputation and image of attainability to the general public. As sad as it is, higher education has become a victim of labeling. Some see them as liberal-factories that indoctrinate students with problematic beliefs, instead of the beacons of literacy and gateways to a higher state-of-life that they used to be.

Legislation has been successful in the House, who passed a rewrite of the tax plan earlier in November. The Senate could vote on this as soon as early December.

Movement is happening. Higher education lobbyist groups and graduate students who will be affected the most, are writing letters and making calls to their respective constituents in Congress, with everyone’s focus on the Senate. One way to prevent this is to call and and write letters to your constituents. Another is to make known any achievements that higher education has made, in an effort to make the people who make decisions see why higher education is so beneficial and crucial to be made available to everybody.