To the Editor:

By voting for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Rep. Mike Bost has voted to tax SIU graduate students on the tuition waivers they are awarded as graduate assistants. Financial aid that graduate students need to be able to afford to pursue their education is now to be designated as taxable income.

How are struggling graduate students supposed to be able to pay taxes on money that never makes it into their pockets in the first place? How on earth could it benefit the Southern Illinois economy and the future of our region if SIU enrollments decline further, and SIU's status as a research university continues to slip, because prospective grad students can't afford to study here?

Rep. Bost’s support for a bill that stands to do so much damage to our region’s major employer is nothing less than unconscionable.

Felicia Alexander

Murphysboro

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