Students and faculty gathered in Centennial Mall on Wednesday evening to protest the Republican federal tax plan that would impact graduate students.
In the federal tax plan, which has already passed through the House of Representatives, graduate students provided with a stipend would be taxed.
“This grad tax makes me feel targeted,” senior Alexa Hatcher said in front of the protesters.
Hatcher organized the rally with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and said she planned to go onto graduate school to pursue her masters in sociology. However, if the federal tax were to pass, Hatcher said it would be nearly impossible to afford graduate school.
Currently, Hatcher said she has taken out loans to pay for her undergraduate degree and was relying on the graduate stipend to move forward with her education. The stipend would waive tuition and allow her to work at the university throughout her education, Hatcher said.
As a first generation college student, Hatcher said she would be the first in her family to receive a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Hatcher said it is important for her to get her master’s so she can be placed in a job that helps her pay off her student loans from her bachelor’s.
However, Hatcher said the tax plan could cause her to take out more loans in order to get through graduate school.
“That’s what the dilemma is,” Hatcher said.
Graduate student Alisha Mays said the federal tax, if passed, would make higher education “more classist.” Mays said people from all classes need to be represented in a classroom or on a university to explain what life is like from all spectrums.
Mays said the protesters in attendance should reach out to state senators and share their opinion on the tax. She said she had an experience where she was able to have an online conversation with a representative.
“At the end of our conversation he thanked me,” Mays said. “Your voices matter and you have a right at the table.”
At the end of the rally, protesters were encouraged to call local senators at that moment, with the office numbers listed on a poster.
Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]