By Amanda Palleschi at FiveThirtyEight.com
Late last year, graduate students watched as legislators in the House debated giving them a hefty new tax bill: A version of the GOP tax plan proposed to treat tuition waivers as taxable income. Although that plan was later dropped, Congress is once again considering legislation that could affect graduate students’ bottom lines. And the federal government is considering ending some of its student loan forgiveness programs, which could raise the economic barrier to entering certain public service professions and leave social workers, teachers and other people in public-service fields that require graduate degrees paying thousands of dollars more for their education.
President Trump’s Education Department and its inspector general, as well as lawmakers and think tanks of all ideological stripes, have raised concerns about the growing cost of the federal government’s student loan programs — specifically its loan forgiveness options for graduate students.