I’m not a grad student. Why should I support tuition waivers?
Tuition waiver generating appointments keep graduate school accessible.
Undergraduate tuition at UIUC is $12,036 for in-state students. While the Daily Illini reported that that number while likely stay the same, graduate student, out-of-state student, and international student tuition will go up 2%. Out-of-state students currently pay $27,195, and international students pay $28,025, at least. Similarly, the graduate base rate is $12,060 for residents and $26,058 for non-residents. Waivers are a benefit of employment; without waivers, graduate students would be paying to work.
Tuition waivers keep graduate school high quality.
If only those students who could afford graduate school can attend graduate school, then more qualified candidates may take better offers from other institutions. This impacts the quality of graduate student research, the quality of graduate student courses, and the quality of undergraduate courses taught by graduate students.
Graduate teaching assistants teach many of the classes on campus.
Many undergraduates will be taught by graduate students while on campus. Graduate students may teach their own sections or assist professors with discussion sections. Either way, they often grade undergraduate work and communicate frequently with undergraduates. Think about the best course you’ve taken; was there a T.A.? Do you want that person saddled with debt?
Graduate teaching assistants are some of the best teachers on campus.
Look up your teaching assistant from this semester; he or she may appear on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent. If graduate students are asked to work hourly in teaching positions, while taking loans or working other jobs to pay for school, they may be distracted from their teaching duties, as they watch their bills add up. Graduate school is already stressful; why should graduate students be saddled with even more stress?
Departments in the College of Engineering are specifically recruiting students under false pretenses.
Students are recruited and told that they can get appointments when they get here. However, their home department (the one where they’re a student) will ask their employing department to pay their tuition. This means that if a graduate student in the Masters of Computer Science program is employed by another program in the College of Engineering, that program would be asked to pay MCS about $36,000. This makes it virtually impossible for graduate students in those departments to get waiver generating appointments.
There is no budget “crisis” at UIUC.
The University does not need graduate tuition to fix the budget. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Since 2004, annual U. of I. tuition increases have ranged from 1.7 to 16 percent.” Where does the money go? It doesn’t go to pay professors or graduate students. Increasingly, it goes to administrators, not those who teach or research. If you’re an undergraduate or the parent of an undergraduate, do you know where your money is going?
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