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Why are graduate level tuition waivers taxable?

All Graduate tuition and fee waivers are taxable unless exempt under the Internal Revenue Code. Under the University's Educational Assistance Plan that is in compliance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §127, up to $5,250 per calendar year in tuition waivers associated with Graduate Assistantships (GAs) or graduate level classes taken by employees are excluded from taxable income. If the amount of the tuition waiver exceeds $5,250 in a calendar year, the University is required to report the excess (any amount over $5,250) as income per the Internal Revenue Service and tax accordingly.