G.E.T.A. gotten; campaign to end AR fees goes on

Graduate Students United is pleased to announce Ryan Long as the winner of the G.E.T.A. (Graduate Emergency Tuition Aid) scholarship lottery, covering his out-of-pocket Advanced Residence tuition for 2009-10.

Over 100 applicants had their names in the GETA scholarship hat last Thursday, March 4, but only one lucky student went home with the prize. We congratulate Ryan Long–and we call on everyone to continue our campaign against AR tuition so that next time around we will all finish the day knowing we’ll have money left for rent and time left to finish our dissertations.

Over 60 people attended the lottery drawing and GSU’s subsequent march to the provost’s office. Considering that AR students (including some 60 of our GETA applicants) are scattered across the globe, and considering that many of us are required to teach during the lunch hour (in yet another instance of administrative disregard for human decency), this turnout shows yet again the importance of ending AR tuition for U of C grad students. Participants in the march delivered “AR Trap” mousetraps to the provost, who however was not present to receive them, because he was meeting with the U of C’s Board of Trustees at the business school’s downtown conference center. The traps were left in his office for him when he returned.

To continue to push for an end to AR tuition:
1) Come to GSU’s next regular meeting, this Tuesday at 5:30 in Haskell Hall room 102, to plan further action.
2) Join GSU or ask your colleagues to join GSU. Only with strength in numbers can we now force a change in the provost’s decision.

What is the history of the campaign to eliminate AR tuition?  Read on…..

AR Tuition Action: A Timeline

May 2007:

student committee including representatives from 32 departments and committees across the 3 divisions submits its “Proposal for Change to Current Doctoral Funding” to President Zimmer, identifying AR tuition as one of six areas in which inadequate funding support proved burdensome to students, and calls for its elimination.Graduate Student United (GSU) and the Graduate Council Graduate Funding Committee (GFC) are formed to advocate for funding for current graduate students.

May 2007 – Winter 2008:

The Provost’s Working Group for Graduate Student Life in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Divinity School convenes to review funding for current graduate students. In February 2008, the Working group releases its formal report, proposing an urgent review of the level of AR out-of-pocket tuition and notes that these charges are disproportionally large in contrast to the minimal resources used by the students.

In response to this report, Provost Rosenbaum tasks Deputy Provost Cohen on Feb 25, 2008 with convening a new Committee of faculty, students, and staff, on Advanced Residence and Time to Degree, with the intent to review the AR system, focusing in particular on the out-of-pocket tuition issue.

Winter 2008-Spring 2009:

In February, GFC and GSU organize the Apple Action: 175 students march to the Administration Building, conveying the message that change is urgently needed to graduate student funding. In the same month, GFC releases a survey of 455 respondents, listing AR tuition as one of the top four most important issues to graduate students, while giving the University the lowest rating on its response to this concern.

In May, GSU submits a petition signed by 541 students to Deputy Provost Cohen, calling for the provision of health insurance for all graduate student employees and fee remission for all students in advanced residence.

In March, GFC submits student letters on the AR system to the Committee on AR and Time to Degree, as well as its final recommendations for the elimination of AR tuition, and if within the current budgetary cycle an immediate waiver is not possible, the immediate implementation of a reduction.

Autumn-Winter 2009:

In September, the Provost’s Committee completes its report, acknowledging the need to ease the financial burden on students in AR status, without moving to eliminate AR tuition. The report recommends “redistributing teaching aid so that all advanced graduate students can benefit from these funds instead of only those students who teach … (and thus) lowering the AR out-of pocket tuition of all AR students across the University.”

In response, GSU & GFC call on the University and state that, rather than redistributing the tuition burden , tuition remission needs to be extended to all students, while ensuring proper compensation for those who teach or do other types of paid work at the University.

NOW:

February 2010: Email campaign to Provost Rosenbaum to request immediate elimination of advanced residence tuition. Over the course of two weeks, about 200 emails are sent.

25 February 2010:  Provost issues decision on AR tuition, freezing 5% annual increase for two years, but making no other reductions.

1 March 2010:  GSU issues response to Provost’s decision.

4 March 2010:  about two years after the establishment of the Committee on Advanced Residence and Time-to-Degree, and on the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education, GSU holds the first and hopefully last Graduate Emergency Tuition Aid (G.E.T.A.) drawing and rally. The GETA scholarship provides reimbursement for 2009-2010 out-of-pocket AR Tuition expenses.

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