Grad Assistant Grumblings

Graduate Assistants are saying it costs them too much to work for their universities. GA’s from Florida State feel like the school is too cheap on their wages compared to other state universities.

Graduate Assistants want to make sure their school’s hear them loud and clear.

The Full time students who double as part time teachers get tuition waived and receive a stipend for their employment. A grad assistant or GA working 10 hours a week receives about 4400 dollars at FSU. More than 1800 of that goes back to the university in fees.

Kerr Ballengeris is the FSU GA Union President. “It’s a fee to work. We can be using the money to support ourselves and our families rather than paying some people’s income directly back into the university.”

GA’s from FSU’s rival the University of Florida even showed up to show support.

UF grad student teachers get their health insurance covered. FSU grad assistants don’t. Gator Matt Vernon said some people wouldn’t have graduated without the help.

“Every fiscal year, you have to rebudget as a graduate assistant, because your stipend, your wage stays the same. The cost of living increases and then the fees go up as well”, says Matt Vernon a UF Grad Assistant.

Senator Dwight Bullard supports the students cause. He says the legislature can’t make FSU or any other university waive the fees. But if some schools are taking in extra money, lawmakers can decrease funding. “Considering that they’re getting millions of dollars in addition over the other 10 state universities, that’s a discussion that needs to be had.”

A school’s board of trustees has to decide whether to waive or decrease graduate assistant fees.

The Graduate Assistant union says that FSU won’t bargain with them on the fees. To compare, the University of South Florida and University of Florida cover some or all of health insurance expenses. FAMU waives stipend fees entirely.

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