GSA backing fee hike

    The Graduate Student Association is holding a fee referendum on StudentLink from March 4 to March 15. The referendum will seek to increase the graduate student activity fee from $8 per quarter to $12 per quarter.

    Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Affairs Tim Johnston said that the fee increase “”is a valid need considering the increased volume of students because of the growth of the campus.””

    The graduate population at UCSD has grown 58 percent in the last five years.

    Frank Chang, GSA vice president of finance, stated on the GSA Web site, “”An increase in the number of students yields increased revenue, however, we have also noticed an increase in our exposure to the graduate population.””

    The GSA has an annual budget of around $80,000, but over the past six years has been using reserve funding to give money to graduate student organizations and fund graduate student programs such as the All-Grad Research Symposium and the Spring Fling.

    The GSA advocates for graduate students on issues such as affordable graduate housing, diversity in admissions, domestic partner issues and in the past the organization has worked on teaching workloads and dental and health insurance issues.

    Increasing funding from $8 per quarter to $12 per quarter would give the GSA about $36,000 more to spend. Chang stated on the Web site, “”The $4 increase in fees will generate about $36,000 a year in revenue. This money will cover the current deficit and should meet the increased demand for GSA money for another seven years.””

    The growth of the campus is affecting the funding of many groups, including Thurgood Marshall College, John Muir College and Eleanor Roosevelt College, all of which have held recent fee referendum elections to raise student fees to fund more programming.

    “”I think the advantage [of the GSA fee referendum] is that it goes directly to graduate students so there isn’t the problem that happens with other student services where graduate students don’t feel like they’re getting the funding they need,”” Johnson said.

    GSA executive board members could not be reached for comment.

    Graduate students may vote on StudentLink at http://studentlink. ucsd.edu through March 15.

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