For millions of young people, the American dream is to study the thing you’re most passionate about at the highest levels possible, and then use those skills and that knowledge to build a life you’ll be fulfilled with. For some of us, the American dream includes many years of graduate school and extremely frugal living along the journey to a Ph.D. Traditionally, in a great many fields (such as biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics), the only way this has been possible is through teaching and/or research assistantships, which grant graduate students with a small stipend (in the ~$20K-$30K/year range) to live off of.
These assistantships also come with a tuition waiver, valued at ~$12K-$50K/year, depending on the public-or-private, in-state-or-out-of-state institution. Currently, these tuition waivers are paid by the college directly to itself, on behalf of the graduate student, and are not counted as taxable income. Under the new GOP tax plan, however, those tuition waivers would be taxed as regular income, making graduate school an unaffordable proposition except for those already independently wealthy.
Contact your CongressWretch.