University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis told state budget officials this week that he wants to attract more graduate students to the university.
But he’s also worried that changes proposed to the tax system will discourage those students from completing their education.
UD officials are closely watching how the proposed tax overhaul in Congress could affect the school’s budget.
The House tax measure would allow graduate tuition waivers to be taxed as income. That could make earning a master’s degree or a Ph.D too expensive for some of its students.
“So, I think it’s going to make it overall much harder for people who want to retrain or acquire new skills for new jobs and that’s why we need to do to attend to it as quickly as we can,” Assanis said.
The House proposal also repeals tax credits that help students afford college and makes other changes. Assanis said if the changes become law, it could make getting an education too pricey for some students to afford.
“That will make education prohibitive for a lot of our students, absent of other monies the universities can raise through fundraising, fellowships, from philanthropists and so on.”
UD recently launched its largest fundraising campaign in its history.
The university is asking state lawmakers for about $119 million in the next budget cycle. That’s about the same as last year. Part of that money helps keep the price down for in-state residents.
In the budget hearing, Assanis also highlighted UD's role as an economic driver. He pointed to the Delaware Innovation Space, a business incubator, that opened in April. He also mentioned the Star Tower and the Newark Regional Transit Center.