Next week begins our final week of classes before final exams and papers conclude the Fall 2017 semester. As our students and faculty focus on completing coursework and evaluating student learning, the US Congress is considering a major revision of the tax code. Proposed changes in the code are likely to have serious and negative consequences for higher education – not just in terms of the impact of the legislation on universities such as ours, but also in terms of the impact on the US population, including high school students applying for college admissions, college and university students planning on attending graduate school, and faculty and staff of universities who hope to extend their own education or to send their children on to higher education.
As the American Council on Education explains,
“The tax code contains a number of provisions, enacted independently over time, that together create a framework that functions as a kind of “three-legged stool” intended to advance three important goals: 1) encourage saving for higher education; 2) help students and families pay for college; and 3) assist with the repayment of student loans. This framework serves the needs of low- and middle-income students and families as they invest in themselves and in higher education.”
“In addition, students and families benefit from the non-profit tax-exempt status of public and private colleges and universities through charitable giving, endowments, and tax-exempt bond financing benefits, all of which help institutions to provide financial aid and advance their teaching, research and public service missions.”
Three provisions, among several, could have negative consequences. First, former students who are paying off their student loans would no longer be able to deduct the interest payments on these loans. The House version of the tax reform bill would end the Student Loan Interest Deduction (SLID) available in current tax law.
Second, “the House bill would repeal Sec. 117(d)(5), which provides for the tax exemption of tuition waivers for graduate students serving as teaching and research assistants.” Graduate students earn very little in actual stipends. In addition to providing tuition waivers, Ohio State University provides some of its political science graduate students with a University Fellowship that pays $25,296 per year; the University of Chicago funds its political science University graduate Fellows at approximately the same level. It would be a challenge for graduate students to pay tax on tuition from their graduate stipend alone. OSU graduate tuition, in-state, is more than $12,000; for out-of-state students, tuition tops $33,000. The University of Chicago tuition is $18,612 a quarter, or more than $55,000 year.
Third, “the House bill would repeal Sec. 117(d), Sec. 117(d)(5), and Sec. 127, which would make tuition waivers and exemptions included under estimated gross income (EGI) taxable and would increase the taxable income for many campus employees, as well as graduate students.” Universities and colleges offer (under current law) tax-free tuition benefits to their employees and dependents, helping institutions of higher education attract motivated employees, helping those employed to further their education, and giving the dependents of those employees access to higher education. An employee at CWRU (in, e.g., Grade 02) making the maximum annual income of $30,191 would be hard-pressed to pay the tax on the tuition for a child enrolled at CWRU ($23,537/semester); under the current tax code, the tuition benefit is not taxed as income. Although the Senate version of the bill does not include this change, differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation will be reconciled in conference, where some of the protections in the Senate bill could disappear.
Why is support for higher education important in the tax code? The tax code underscores the values of the country and provides incentives for behavior that the US, as a nation, hopes to encourage. Graduate school is, of course, not for everyone, but graduate school is not for nobody. Graduate school is the source of the future professoriate; it is the source of the highest level of research and scholarship; it undergirds the development of new bodies of knowledge. Similarly, college is not for everyone, but college is not for no one. Encouraging those with the preparation and the necessary talents, interests, and experience to attend university, and to do so without permanently damaging themselves financially, is the right thing to do.
You can read more at http://www.acenet.edu/Pages/Higher-Education-and-Tax-Reform.aspx. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) are both members of the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Brown can be reached through his website at https://www.brown.senate.gov/contact; Senator Portman can be contacted through his website at https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form.
A Few Quick Reminders. Registration for Spring 2017 courses continues. Most of our upper-division courses still have space for additional students. Despite their 300-level number, there are no prerequisites for upper-division POSC courses and students are welcome to enroll in them. Note that several of our spring courses are offered only every other year; e.g. POSC363 Comparative Elections and Electoral Systems, and POSC374 The Politics of Development in the Global South, will not be offered in the next academic year; the same is the case for POSC378 International Relations Theory, a course (like POSC363) that fulfills the SAGES Departmental Seminar requirement. As this fall semester draws to its close, we look forward to having you in our courses in the coming spring semester.
Regarding POSC396 Senior Capstone Projects in Political Science, students hoping to complete POSC396 in the spring term should be talking now with likely capstone supervisors before the end of this semester, to identify a good capstone topic, as well as the most appropriate (and available) faculty member to direct them.
For more information about POSC396, see here.
Now is the time to start preparing for summer internships. For political science majors, see the opportunities through the Wellman Hill Public Service Internships Program here. Internship opportunities are also listed on the Department’s webpage at http://politicalscience.case.edu/category/internships/.
Finally, our alumna Cheyenne Chambers (BA POSC, MA HSTY 2011) will return to campus to give a public lecture titled “A Story of Perseverance.” on Friday, December 8, at 2:00pm in Mather House 100. Ms. Chambers earned her law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and currently practices at the law firm of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen; she most recently argued a case before the North Carolina Supreme Court. See the flyer advertising Ms. Chambers’ lecture and the various events associated with her visit.
With all best wishes for the last week of classes of the fall term,
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
A Story of Perseverance
December 8, 2:00p.m., Mather House 100
POSC Alumna and Wellman Hill Grant recipient Cheyenne Chambers (BA, MA ’11) earned her law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and currently practices at Tin Fulton Walker & Owen. Join us as she discusses her educational and professional experiences.
On December 7 at 11:30a.m. in Mather House 100, Professor Tartakoff will show a video of Ms. Chambers’ recent argument before the North Carolina Supreme Court. All students are welcome to attend.
Friday Lunch: The Stakes in “Tax Reform”
December 1, 12:30-1:30p.m., KSL Dampeer Room
Congressional Republicans are racing to pass what they call tax reform that would stimulate the economy and Democrats call a giveaway to corporations and wealthier Americans. Visiting Associate Professor of Economics Danny Shoag will provide an overview of the provisions in the bills passed in the House and under consideration
in the Senate, and the economic disputes about those provisions.
What Form will Tax Reform Take?
December 1, 12:00p.m., The City Club
Join The City Club for a panel discussion as we deconstruct the tax plan and discover how it will affect our communities. Nonmember tickets are $35.
The Importance of the Sciences – and the Arts
December 1, 5:00p.m., CSU Wolstein Building Auditorium
Today in the USA there is much concern about education in the sciences. The reasons offered are typically incomplete. In this talk, Kitcher offers a more extensive account of why education in the sciences is important for everyone, and couples it with the thesis that a broad and deep education in the arts and humanities is equally necessary. This is a free event, but registration is recommended.
Freedom From Want- Food Insecurity
December 2, 1:00-2:30p.m., MOCA
A panel of local, regional, and national leaders working in food production, distribution, access, and policy will convene to discuss with the audience the factors, outcomes, and possible solutions to food insecurity and inequity in our country. This is a free event.
December 3, 3:00-6:00p.m., TVUC Ballroom
The purpose of this event is to spread new ideas to CWRU and the surrounding community about a wide variety of subjects such as technology, science and more. Students will learn how they can use the ideas presented to effectively apply principles to their lives.
Know the Signs: Identifying Human Trafficking in Our Backyards
December 4, 6:00-8:00p.m., Preterm, 12000 Shaker Blvd.
Learn about the landscape of human trafficking in our own backyards and how you can identify victims of human trafficking in our own backyards and how you can identify victims of human trafficking. This is a free event.
Debating Ohio: Democratic Candidates For Governor
December 4, 6:30p.m., Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre, Playhouse Square
Participating candidates include: Connie Pillich, former member, Ohio House of Representatives; Joe Schiavoni, Ohio Senator; Betty Sutton, former member, U.S. House of Representatives; and Nan Whaley, Mayor, City of Dayton.
Who’s Afraid of Edward Said? The Palestinians and the Stifling of Dissent
December 5, 11:30a.m.-12:45p.m., Crawford Hall A13
History Professor Ted Steinberg will discuss his personal journey with respect to this contentious issue, and an update on the serious threats to dissent now present and brewing in the United States—and on our campus.
From Satin to Sackcloth- Life during the Depression
December 5, 12:00p.m., CMA Art Gallery 230
Join curator Barbara Tannenbaum as she discusses the effects of the Great Depression on American life in the 1930s.
The 2018 Global Economic Outlook
December 5, 5:30-7:00p.m., The Drury Inn, Downtown
Michael Weidokal, Executive Director of International Strategic Analysis in Luxembourg, will address the key economic, trade, investment, and geopolitical issues that will shape the global economy in 2018.
December 7, 4:00p.m., Cleveland Public Library Main Branch
Examine writers central to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s with an important mix of voices, ranging from highly refined language to dialect, from the serious to the comedic, and the pointedly sociopolitical to the fantastical.
The Urban League of Greater Cleveland: A Century of Advocacy
December 7, 12:00p.m., The City Club
Marsha Mockabee, CEO and President of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, reflects on the past 100 years and looks ahead to the future.
Internship and Fellowship Opportunities
The Pathways Program
The Pathways Program in the US federal government offers internship opportunities for political science students.
The Cleveland Foundation has conducted a summer internship program since 1999 that provides talented and diverse undergraduate students and recent college graduates an opportunity to work with Cleveland-area nonprofit and public sector organizations in an 11-week paid internship. Interns also participate in and coordinate weekly seminars highlighting key organizations and programs being conducted in the local nonprofit and public sectors. Applications are due January 22, 2018.
The Cleveland Hillel Foundation
The Cleveland Hillel Foundation Summer Internship Program (SIP CLE) is a unique paid summer internship program open to Jewish students who will be going into their junior or senior year in the fall. Interns work for ten weeks and participate in innovative programming including exclusive excursions around Cleveland, professional development seminars, and opportunities to interact with civic and community leaders. The application deadline is January 31, 2018.
The U.S. Department of Defense
Current students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions from high school to graduate level, with paid opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school.
American Political Science Association Minority Fellowship Program
The Minority Fellows Program (MFP) is a fellowship competition for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds applying to or in the early stages of doctoral programs in political science.
Joe Schiavoni for Governor
This fellowship would require 15-20 hours per week, beginning January 2018. Columbus area residents preferred, but not required (all fellows should plan for a few day trips throughout the campaign!). If your college/university allows class credit for campaign work, we will help ensure the fellowship fulfills course requirements. If interested, send your resume to Zac Kramer at JoeForOhio@gmail.com.
The Pathways Program
The Pathways Program in the US federal government offers employment opportunities for graduates with BA degrees in political science.
Associate Editor with Science Magazine
We have an exciting full-time opportunity for an Associate Editor-Science in our Washington, DC or Cambridge, UK office to join our editorial team at Science. We seek applicants who are scientifically rigorous and able to critically evaluate scientific work, have a great love of science and an excellent ability to network with scientists.
A Little Extra…