Grad fee increase will hurt students

As part of the ongoing debate regarding the increase in continuous enrollment fees, we in the English Graduate Student Association want to voice our collective opposition to the administration’s change in policy.

We feel a clear statement of our position is necessary because the University recently has tried to impose compromises unfavorable to graduate studies. Consequently, EGSA has been meeting regularly since May 1998, as the proposed fee increase is a major concern to graduate students and faculty of the English department.

We favor a return to the previous conditions that support graduate students and the work we do for the University. This issue will be brought up before the Joint Committee of Faculty and Students before the end of October, and it is imperative that our position be firmly articulated.

Graduate students in our department receive no funding at the dissertation stage and rely upon meager part-time teaching salaries. An increase in the continuous enrollment fee will force many students to seek full-time employment outside of the University just as we should be concentrating on completing our dissertations. Without a living wage, dissertations may become no more than mere “hobbies” we do in our spare time.

We assume the University expects quality dissertations, but a 1,900 percent fee increase clearly demonstrates otherwise. Since GW is seeking Research I status – which requires a certain number of dissertations to be completed each year – a change in policy also contradicts University goals.

If GW wishes to remain as competitive as it has been in the national school rankings, then this change in policy must not go into effect. We will not only lose current students due to the added financial strain, but potential graduate students also will be deterred from attending a school that does not support advanced study.

We ask that the administration and JCFS demonstrate their commitment to the contributions graduate students make to the University community by opposing the increased fee.

-The English Graduate Student Association.

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