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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Grads worried about child care, travel funds”

    Course availability, health insurance benefits and child care costs are some of the concerns on the minds of the UA’s graduate students this fall.

    Although these continuing concerns are known, UA administrators do not address them adequately, said some graduate students.

    Due to budget cuts, fewer lecturer are available to teach courses, said Anne Murdaugh, vice president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

    As a result, more faculty are being asked to
    take on extra sections of courses they already teach, which “”has a ripple effect,”” Murdaugh said.

    When a professor teaches two sections of a class instead of one, the professor will spend less time in the lab working with graduate students, Murdaugh said.

    Another cause for concern among graduate students is the added cost of health insurance to their finances.

    Health insurance costs are most often covered for undergraduate students by their parents’ insurance until they are 23 years old, but graduate students are often no longer under the umbrella of their parents’ insurance.

    The insurance plan for graduate students provided by Campus Health Service does not include dental or prescription coverage, despite urging by the GPSC and other organizations.

    Additionally, it costs a student 70 percent more to include a child on the plan, and costs to include a spouse are even higher, according to data found on the Campus Health Web site.

    Child care benefits for students include a subsidy of $500 per academic year, according to the UA’s Life and Work Connections Web site, which is another concern for graduate students with children.

    Children’s Defense Fund research puts full-time child care costs at $4,000 per year.

    Many graduate students said they are also concerned with the costs of travel expenses.

    Traveling funds can allow graduate students to present their research across the country,

    I can’t get much done at home. I think I’m going to become friends with the Science Library. -Jennifer Reid,
    applied biosciences graduate student

    which in turn can provide students with money for their education or even plant the seeds of recruitment for employment.

    The GPSC, unfortunately, can only fund 30 to 40 percent of students who apply for travel funds, Murdaugh said.

    Another pressing concern for grad students this fall is time management.

    “”Pretty much I expect to be a little overwhelmed my first semester,”” said Kara Ellerby, a graduate teaching assistant studying political science.

    Ellerby said she has her own graduate classes to attend and is also teaching three discussion sessions.

    Jennifer Reid, an applied biosciences graduate student, said she agrees that time management is an important issue.

    “”I can’t get much done at home,”” Reid said. “”I think I’m going to become friends with the Science Library.””

    The GPSC plans to hold meetings to address these concerns and more throughout this semester and the academic year.

    A calendar of events can be found on the council’s Web site,

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