SDSU Graduate Student Response Statement to the Tuition Remission and Stipend Reduction Policy
We acknowledge that this policy intends to provide an affordable graduate education to future students at SDSU. However, current graduate students were not consulted prior to the proposal of this policy to the Board of Regents, or during the evaluation of the policy by the Task Force. Once enacted, communications about the policy from the University to the Departments and students were poorly conducted and resulted in widespread confusion and frustration. Specifically, the communications resulted in intra- and interdepartmental inconsistencies regarding future stipend amounts, the date the policy would be effective, and the maximum number of allowable credits.
As a result, many graduate students are now wondering whether or not their situation was considered and are uncertain of how this policy will affect them. Students who receive financial aid and depend on tax credits for tuition may be affected, as will established students whose grants have no flexibility to increase tuition remission, and consequently, will soon find their paychecks reduced. Graduate research assistants are often required to dedicate three or more years for a Master’s and five to six for a Doctorate. The 15-credit average, upon which the tuition remission is based, does not consider this multi-year commitment. Also, effects on current graduate assistants with less than 15 credits remaining in their degree were not considered.
In the future, we ask the University to judiciously consider the subsequent effects these large-scale policy changes have on graduate students, prior to their approval.