In the current debate on tax reform, one topic that has arisen is that the House bill would tax graduate students on the tuition benefit they receive in their graduate stipends. Though not the topic getting the most attention, it has been covered quite a bit in the print and electronic media.
The grad students are speaking out against the proposal. So are the universities. The rhetoric is that this provision would destroy graduate programs. But in the dozen or so articles I’ve read on the topic, one group conspicuous by its absence is the tech industry.
The industry lobbyists have told us repeatedly that they hire H-1B workers from U.S. graduate programs because not enough Americans pursue grad study. Really? If so, the tech leaders should be up in arms. Yet not a peep out of them.
Of course, a possible answer is that they are salivating so much at the proposed cuts in corporate tax rates that they want to keep a low profile. This is probably part of it, but this can’t be the full explanation.
I suspect that the main reason they don’t care about the issue is that (a) they really don’t need people with graduate degrees after all, and (b) they are counting on the fact that, as one university dean put it, “Foreign students will do anything to stay in the U.S.,” tax or no tax (plus mitigation by tax treaties).