Last summer, GEO learned of a policy change affecting tuition waivers in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Current students have been exempted from this policy change, but let’s be clear—ANY REDUCTION OF TUITION WAIVERS GREATLY IMPACTS ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION FOR INCOMING AND FUTURE GRADUATE STUDENTS IN ALL DEPARTMENTS AT UIUC.
Incoming, non-resident students in FAA face a tuition differential of over $13,000 a year (tuition rates can be found here). In Spring 2010, a full 75% of GAs and TAs qualifying for a tuition waiver in the FAA were making significantly less than $1000 a month. The majority of these students are already struggling with some of the lowest wages on campus and now they will be expected to shoulder their tuition expenses too.
Many have asked, “Can’t these students just change their residency so they are only charged base-rate tuition?” The answer is “No.” The University of Illinois does not permit a change in residency for anyone who moves to the state solely for the purpose of getting an education. It does not matter if you pay taxes here or own a home, you cannot change your residency if you are a student. You can read the policy here.
For AY11/12, incoming FAA students have been offered Graduate College scholarships to make up the tuition differential. These scholarship funds are not guaranteed and can be rescinded at any time. This is surely the beginning of a larger trend to erode graduate student benefits. In many departments this scholarship does not cover the entire differential, leaving these students–some of the lowest paid on campus–with additional fees totaling almost $1200 a semester. Tuition waivers are a benefit of employment and are absolutely necessary to maintaining accessibility to public higher education at UIUC.
The UIUC administration committed to the maintaining of tuition waivers—a longstanding and ongoing practice. They lied.
How can you persuade the UIUC Administration to reverse this policy?
1. Post these videos to your facebook account and email them to everyone you know.
2. Call or send an email to the Dean of FAA, Robert Graves (217-333-1660, firstname.lastname@example.org). Tell him you think it’s unfair to limit access to graduate degrees to those who can afford to pay and teach!