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UT Knoxville worried about GOP tax plan impact on students

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Tennessee’s flagship university has some serious concerns about the tax overhaul plan Republicans are pushing through Congress.

At a time when some 3,000 Americans are defaulting on their student loans every day, the GOP plan would make getting and paying for a college degree even more difficult, especially for low-income students.

As currently written, the plan would eliminate the student loan interest deduction. It would also dramatically increase taxes paid by many graduate students.

Robert Nobles is the Interim Vice Chancellor for Research at UT. Dr. Nobles says he routinely has students drop out of school for bills of just a few hundred dollars.

So he’s worried about the roughly 2,500 UT grad students who will suddenly find themselves paying dramatically higher taxes under the Republican plan.

“It could potentially reduce the number of low income and striving students coming to the State of Tennessee and the University of Tennessee for education.”

On the other hand, Dr. Nobles says you should never underestimate a student’s determination to finish that degree.

“Their resiliency would lead to them figuring out a way to cover their additional expenses or go into more debt so that they can continue to be here.”

Nobles notes the University of Tennessee is doing $200 million dollars’ worth of research. He says some of those dollars will go away if the school loses the grad students who are critical to the completion of those studies.