Fee Burden

Fees Increase Every Year While Wages Stagnate

Prior to receiving their first paycheck, many graduate student-workers must pay $729-$936+ to the universityan amount that often exceeds the first paycheck they get [1]. Fees steadily increase each year without any input from graduate students while the base wage for a graduate student-worker at UAF has not increased in over a decade. 

*In 2019-2020, UAF changed from a flat fee to a credit hour based fee, temporarily lowering the amount of fees graduate students must pay. Still, fees continue to rise and in only two years since that change, we are already paying more than we did in 2017. Within the next two years, fees will likely exceed their previous high.

Fees place an unreasonable burden on ASEs who are already struggling to make ends meet. A full-time graduate student-worker at UAF can spend up to 16.53% of their academic year income on fees. A full-time graduate student-worker at UAA can spend up to 11.50% of their academic year income on fees (which does NOT include the $2,936 health insurance premium UAA students must pay–altogether, a UAA graduate student-worker might spend 33.57% of their income paying UAA [2]). 

Fees Should be Included in Our Tuition Remission

Unionized graduate students/ASEs at peer institutions are not only paid more, but have successfully negotiated to have a percentage of mandatory fees included with tuition remission. 

At the University of Rhode Island, 20% of mandatory fees are covered by the university for graduate student-workers [3]; at Oregon State University, 90% of mandatory fees are covered by the university for graduate student-workers, as well as the entirety of the matriculation and international student fees [4]. 

We shouldn’t have to pay nearly $1,000 to the university before we even get our first paychecks. If unionized, we will be able to fight to have some or all of our fees included in our funding packages. 

[1] https://uaf.edu/handbook/register/expenses/#basic[2] https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/academics/graduate-school/current-students/graduate-assistantships/graduate-assistantship-health-care-plan.cshtml[3] https://www.urigau.org/read-me[4] https://hr.oregonstate.edu/sites/hr.oregonstate.edu/files/cge_cba_2020-2024.pdf