Ph.D. Students will no longer be required to pay Student Services Fees at six divisions and schools – Chicago Maroon

The Humanities Division, Social Sciences Division, Crown School, and Divinity School will cover student services fees for all doctoral degrees. students starting in the fall 2022 term.

Beginning next fall term, graduate students will no longer be required to pay the Student Services Fee. Tuesday’s announcement came after a year of organizing by Graduate Students United (GSU) to reduce fees.

The Student Services Fee is a quarterly payment not included in tuition that is used to support campus and student life services, such as UChicago Student Wellness, Student Disability Services, Office of International Affairs, and UChicago HELP. It also funds recognized student organizations through the Undergraduate Student Government and the Graduate Council.

The Humanities Division; Division of Social Sciences; the Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice and the Divinity School have agreed to cover doctoral fees. students who do not yet have an exemption.

The physical and biological sciences divisions have begun to incorporate student service fees into their funding model for the PhD. candidates for the fall 2021 term.

“We know this is undoubtedly the result of our organization over the past year,” said GSU Communications Secretary Laura Colaneri. Brown. “We are really happy to have been able to put what amounts to a really significant increase in money in the pockets of our members.”

Colaneri pointed out that graduate students will save between $1,200 and $1,600 annually now that fees are not subtracted from their stipends.

The announcement was made the day before the Student Services Fee deadline for the winter term. Colaneri was not surprised by the timing of the announcement given that GSU members who boycotted the charges now collectively owe nearly $100,000.

“I think it’s no surprise that they decided to announce this now, when we’re really getting into gear to, frankly, make the administration not very good,” she said.

Last February, the GSU organized a student services fee boycott in which nearly 500 graduate students pledged to participate. The GSU demanded that the University reduce fees from $416 per term to no more than $125 per term – a change the University had only implemented for the Spring 2020 term following a distance learning – and publishes information on how funds from fees are distributed among University departments.

According to the Office of Bursar, “Student Services Fees are assessed quarterly to support the many services dedicated to improving the quality of student life and campus activities.”

“Each academic year, we are billed over $1,200 for an ill-defined and unchosen service package. These fees are significantly higher than those paid at comparable universities,” GSU wrote in a letter to fellow graduate students.

GSU members felt the fees were particularly onerous during the COVID-19 pandemic, when services and facilities were either closed or operating at restricted capacity. “The Student Services Fee…effectively taxes a financially and medically insecure graduate student body for services it cannot fully and safely provide,” the GSU wrote.