How will the proposed changes affect my taxable income in regards to the tuition the NSF pays directly to Cornell?


Hi, Deans,

Thank you very much for all of the clarifications about the proposed changes to the tax code and how Cornell graduate students would be affected by it.

I understand that the proposed tax plan includes provisions which aim to repeal the tax deduction for tuition related expenses. This year, my funding and part of my tuition, come from a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. How will the proposed changes affect my taxable income, particularly in regards to the tuition that the NSF pays to Cornell?


NSF GRF Questioner


Dear NSF GRF Questioner,

Thank you for your Ask a Dean question.  I'm glad to know the information we've been posting and updating regarding federal tax reform legislation has been useful.  We will continue to post new information weekly as possible.  We are working with Cornell's government relations team to stay up-to-date and to weigh in with legislators as new ideas are made public, regarding potential implications for graduate education not only at Cornell but nationwide.

Congratulations on your National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRF)!  We are extremely proud that Cornell has 261 NSF GRF’s for 2017-2018, the most we’ve ever had enrolled at Cornell in any year. We strive to continue to be a welcoming campus for GRFs into the future.

Cornell’s tax counsel indicates that the current interpretation regarding federal tax law and its implications for Cornell funded graduate students (whether on Cornell or NSF fellowship or assistantship) is the same as explained in the November 6, 2017 Graduate Announcements, so I won’t repeat that here.  If the interpretation changes as new information about tax reform proposals becomes available or when tax reform legislation is finalized (approved by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by the President), we’ll communicate those updates.  

Warm regards,


Barbara A. Knuth
Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School