Tell UB: Support Your Teaching Graduate Students!
  • Petitioned University at Buffalo Office of Financial Aid

This petition was delivered to:

University at Buffalo Office of Financial Aid

Tell UB: Support Your Teaching Graduate Students!

    1. Cayden Mak
    2. Petition by

      Cayden Mak

      Buffalo, NY

Teaching graduate students work very hard -- we are the backbone of UB's teaching and research, and deserve to be supported by the administration. We should not have to panic about making sure we have a place to live and food to eat for the first month of the semester. We don't think we were sufficiently warned about a major change in UB’s financial aid disbursement policy, and the effects have been serious.

Click here to view the memo sent by the Dean for Undergraduate Education & the Dean of the Graduate School. The memo itself is really confusing, and doesn't say what day exactly the funds will be disbursed. The previous policy was straightforward: money was released 10 days before classes began. Additionally, this new policy memo wasn't brought to our attention when we accepted our aid offers, nor did we receive anything by mail.

We demand the administration to return to the old disbursement policy for teaching graduate students. Teaching graduate students already make very little money, on average $12000/year, and our paychecks come out on a lagging cycle: technically, our appointments began Aug. 18, but our first paychecks come in Sept. 14. Classes begin Aug. 29, so we are working for a full month before we see any pay. In the meantime, we may need to return to Buffalo, move our families, buy supplies for our classes, get the books we are teaching from, upgrade our computers, eat, secure housing...you name it.

Most of us receive a tuition waiver, but many of us take out a small amount in federal loans to cover these costs for the month we will be in Buffalo before we receive a paycheck, and to pay the nearly $800 in fees that the university charges on top of tuition that aren't covered by the waiver. Many grad students, not aware of the change in policy, did not budget for a month between their summer activities and their first paycheck. Like most people, teaching grad students don’t have a five-week cushion to survive on. While it looks unlikely that we'll get the money any earlier this semester, the administration needs to know that we are hurting, and that the policy change, in which we had no say, is directly and negatively affecting our lives on campus.

The explanation that we have teased out from the Student Resource Center and Financial Aid is that the administration is concerned about students who accept loans, get the deposit in their bank accounts, and then withdraw their enrollment. While we can see how this is a concern, the compounded effects of our pay lag, lack of effort on the part of the administration to publicize details of the new policy have made it especially hard for us. Plus, we can't imagine that this issue would be an issue for graduate students -- we're in school because we want to be, and these are our jobs, which we have accepted.

There is not an explanation that makes this policy change make sense to us. We expect our administration to consider the outcome of their policy, especially since we are not part of this decision-making process.

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    1. Reached 250 signatures

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    • Max Waller PACOIMA, CA
      • almost 3 years ago

      Please support your teaching graduate students.

      Thank you for your time.

      Sincerely,

      Max Waller

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
      • almost 3 years ago

      I need some money so I can donate it to the University so they can fix his HUB garbage.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tyler Borden BUFFALO, NY
      • almost 3 years ago

      I am a UB graduate assistant has been affected by the problem exactly as outlined in the description. I have stay with a friend until a loan comes through, borrow money from my parents to eat, and I don't get paid by the university until the end of the month for work I'm doing now. Something wrong with this picture? We're all students, meaning we likely are counting on this money to live off of while we further our studies. It seems counter intuitive to give us our money after we're expected to be settled and living in a new place (for those of us just starting).

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Whitney Adams BUFFALO, NY
      • almost 3 years ago

      Every one of us deserves to get an education. Almost every one of us cannot afford this education in its entirety. To say, "Get out there and find a part time job in the meantime" is to dismiss the very real experience that we are all a part of right now: we are trying to succeed at schoo, first, and second, how many part time jobs does Pollard really think there are available in Buffalo for all of the students who have been dicked over by this new financial aid situation? This is a big fuck you to students, and it needs to be recognized as such. Maybe it's time someone took our plight personally.

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    • Crescenzo Scipione ROCHESTER, NY
      • almost 3 years ago

      i'm a student at UB and take classes from several amazing grad students. they've earned my solidarity.

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