Advocacy

 

Each year, SAGE organizes a Conference at Washington, D.C. to advocate our legislative priorities to our federal legislators.  April 2013 DOH  included a two day meeting and issue training workshop prior to three days of meetings with legislators.

2013 Legislative Priorities
(Click for Summary page PDF) 
 

Taxation and Indebtedness (Click for White Paper PDF)

Student Debt: A Growing Obstacle for Attaining a Graduate Education: The outstanding student loan balance—$1 trillion according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—surpasses credit card debt. 69.6% of graduate students hold student loans with an average cumulative debt of $47,503. The reduction in many student aid programs in addition to the increase in the cost of education is making the financial burden of an advanced education overwhelming. 

SAGE Recommends:

 

·         Amend the new Income Based Repayment rules to apply to all outstanding federal student loans, make Income Based Repayment installments regionally sensitive to cost of living, and exclude forgiven student loan debt from taxable income.

 

“Qualified Higher Education Expenses” Not Defined as Originally Intended: The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) defines the cost of attendance for higher education as the total cost of education, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, etc. In 1986, changes in tax law uniquely disadvantaged graduate students, making portions of fellowship and student aid, such as room and board, taxable income.

SAGE Recommends:

·        Amend the tax code to define “Qualified Higher Education Expenses” and “Qualified Tuition and Related Expenses” to match the definition of “Cost of Attendance” in section 472 of the HEA.



 The Project on Student Debt (2011). Student Debt and the Class of 2010. Washington, DC, The Institute for College Access and Success.

 

Resources on the definition of "Qualified Education Expenses"

 
Research Funding (Click for White Paper PDF)

 

Funding Federal Research is Crucial to Our Country’s Economy: The U.S. economy is dependent on groundbreaking research at leading research universities. If the U.S. is to remain a global leader in innovation and technology development, Congress should maintain or increase federal funding of graduate research, which produces cures to diseases, new technology, and a more powerful workforce. 

SAGE Recommends:

·         Congress should maintain, if not increase, federal funding of research.

 

Immigration (Click for White Paper PDF)

 

Visa Reform: Allow World’s Brightest to Create American Jobs: Domestic universities are global leaders that attract the best and brightest international students in pursuit of graduate and professional degrees. SAGE fully supports ongoing efforts for comprehensive immigration reform, and believes that these students play a critical role in US economic growth as well as the retention and advancement of our intellectual property. SAGE believes that changes to our visa system should be enacted to lower the barriers to permanent residency and incentivize these students to stay in the United States permanently. 

 

SAGE Recommends:

·         Reforms to establish a moving cap based on demand for H1-B visas, grant work permits for spouses of visa holders, exempt students earning a masters or higher degree in a STEM field in the U.S. from the numerical limits on EB visas.

·          F-1 visa reforms to include the lifting of work restrictions and authorization of dual intent.     

 


 

 

 

Each year, SAGE organizes a Conference at Washington, D.C. to advocate our legislative priorities to our federal legislators.  March 2012 DOH  included a two day meeting and lobby and issue training workshop prior to meeting with legislators.

2012 Legislative Priorities
(Click for Summary page PDF) 
 

Taxation and Indebtedness (Click for White Paper PDF)

Indebtedness: A Growing Obstacle for Attaining a Graduate Education: The growing debt burden students face has a tangible effect on the number of students who apply to graduate school and the time it takes them to complete their degrees. The outstanding student loan balance—$1 trillion according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—now surpasses credit card debt, and the average undergraduate student debt alone increased 5% between 2009 and 2010, a similar increase to previous years (The Project on Student Debt, 2011). The current loan forgiveness program is too narrow for its intended population to use, and creates a heavy tax burden on the forgiven debt.

SAGE Recommends:

·         Amend the new Income Based Repayment rules to apply to all outstanding federal student loans (addressed in part by H.R. 4170), make Income Based Repayment installments regionally sensitive to cost of living, and exclude forgiven student loan debt from taxable income.

“Qualified Higher Education Expenses” Not Defined as Originally Intended: The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) defines the cost of attendance for higher education as the total cost of education, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, etc. In 1986, changes in tax law uniquely disadvantaged graduate students, making portions of fellowship and student aid, such as room and board, taxable income.  

 

SAGE Recommends:

·        Amend the tax code to define “Qualified Higher Education Expenses” and “Qualified Tuition and Related Expenses” to match the definition of “Cost of Attendance” in section 472 of the HEA.

 



The Project on Student Debt (2011). Student Debt and the Class of 2010. Washington, DC, The Institute for College Access and Success.

 

Resources on the definition of "Qualified Education Expenses"

 
Research Funding (Click for White Paper PDF)

 

Funding Federal Research is Crucial to Our Country’s Economy: The U.S. economy is dependent on groundbreaking research at leading research universities. If the U.S. is to remain a global leader in innovation and technology development, Congress should maintain or increase federal funding of graduate research, which produces cures to diseases, new technology, and a more powerful workforce.  

SAGE Recommends:

·         Congress should maintain, if not increase, federal funding of research, and should create the American Opportunity Challenge Grant.

 


Immigration (Click for White Paper PDF)

Visa Reform: Allow World’s Brightest to Create American Jobs: While the U.S. economy has globalized, our use of talented, U.S.-educated international students lags. The export of some of the best and brightest to our international competitors hurts our economy and standing as global leaders.   

SAGE Recommends:

·         H1-B visa reforms to exclude students with advanced U.S. degrees from H1-B cap, grant work permissions to H1-B-holder spouses, and pass H.R. 3012, and H.R. 2161/S. 1986, to eliminate per-country H1-B limits and grant priority H1-B to international students with advanced STEM degrees.

·         F1-B visa reforms especially re-entry permissions for F-1 students, to enable visits to sick family, attend conferences and research, and expand off-campus work allowances. 

 

 


 

2011 Content

SAGE Action Alert: Sign our Letter!

(2654 Letters signed to date)

The Obama Administration has proposed the elimination of the Federal Subsidized Loan Program for graduate students in the FY2012 budget.  

As can be seen from the table (Detailed VersionSimple Version) this would cause a higher cost of graduate education. The projections below are the ADDITIONAL costs resulting from this elimination. That is, the accrued interest during the degree and the interest on the in-school accrued interest over the repayment period.  In other words, assuming a 20 year repayment, for every $10,000 of  unsubsidized loans over a 5 year program, it costs a student an additional $4,094 ($10,000 X 40.94%) in interest.

* On average, the cumulative loan debt is over $50,000 for master’s students  and $77,000 for doctoral students.  Debt for medical and dental student ranges between $160,000 and $186,500.‡

* Approximately 67% of Ph.D. students and 73% of master’s students graduate with debt. ‡
 

‡ Council of Graduate Schools and ETS, The Path Forward:  The Future of Graduate Education in the United States. 2010.


CLICK HERE to sign our letter to Congress and the Administration
to save the Federal Subsidized Loan Program for graduate students! 


Subsidized Student Loan $8,500 Scenario

Download the PDF version of the table: (Detailed VersionSimple Version)

 


 

Each year, SAGE organizes a Conference at Washington, D.C. to advocate our legislative priorities to our federal legislators.  March 2011 DOH  included a three day meeting and lobby and issue training workshop prior to meeting with legislators.

2011 Legislative Priorities
(Click for Summary page PDF) 
 

Taxation and Indebtedness (Click for White Paper PDF)

Subsidized Loans Vital to Economy: The Administration budget proposal for FY2012 would eliminate subsidized loans for graduate students, accruing debt for students from day one.  This would significantly add to the debt graduate students face upon graduation and would directly affect lower income students. 

SAGE Recommends:
  • Keep the subsidized federal loan program for graduate students and find alternate means of funding the Pell Grant.

Indebtedness: A Growing Obstacle for Attainment of Graduate Education: The growing debt burden students face has a tangible effect on the number of students and the current loan forgiveness program is too narrow for its intended population to use, and creates a heavy tax burden on the debt forgiven.

SAGE Recommends:
  • Exempt forgiven loan debt from federal taxation and expand income exclusion amounts covered under income-based repayment and income contingent repayment programs.

Qualified Educational Expenses’ Not Defined as Originally Intended: The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) defines the cost of attendance for higher education as the total cost of education, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, etc. In 1986, changes in tax law uniquely disadvantaged graduate students, making portions of fellowship and student aid, such as room and board, taxable income. H.R. 5078 of the 111th Congress addressed this inconsistency in the tax code.

SAGE Recommends:
  • Amend the tax code to define “Qualified Higher Education Expenses” and “Qualified Tuition and Related Expenses” to match the definition of “Cost of Attendance” in section 472 of the HEA.

Resources on the definition of "Qualified Education Expenses"
 
Research Funding (Click for White Paper PDF)

Funding Federal Research Grants Is Crucial to Our Country’s Economy: The U.S. economy is dependent on groundbreaking research at leading research universities. If the U.S. is to remain a global leader in innovation and technology development, Congress should maintain or expand federal funding of graduate research, which produces cures to diseases, new technology, and a more powerful workforce.  

SAGE Recommends:
  • Congress should maintain, if not expand, federal funding of graduate research.

Immigration (Click for White Paper PDF)

Visa Reform: Allow World’s Brightest to Create American Jobs: While the U.S. economy has globalized, our use of talented, U.S.-educated international students lags. The export of some of the best and brightest to our international competitors hurts our economy and standing as global leaders.   

SAGE Recommends:
  • F-1 Visa Reform allowing International Students to Visit Sick Family Members.
  • Exempt all students who obtain advanced degrees in the U.S. from the H1-B cap.
  • Grant Work Authorization to the Spouses of H-1B Holders (those in the H-4 category), as is done for the spouses of L-1 Visa holders.
  • Pass H.R. 399, the STAPLE Act — This bill would authorize international students who have earned a Ph.D. degree from a U.S. university in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) to be admitted for permanent residence, and be exempted from numerical limitations on H-1B visas.