Graduate students struggle to make ends met

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UT graduate students are barely scraping by. Although they serve as teacher assistants, aid professors in research and help run academic workshops and student events, they are often not paid a living wage. 

Graduate students have to stretch a small stipend to cover rent, groceries, student loan payments and their tuition, with which the University is helping less and less. 

As of now, graduate students that are struggling to pay their tuition can receive additional aid to make ends meet, but that fund will run dry next semester.

Tuition and housing costs in Austin are rising, but pay for graduates stays the same. 

A lack of pay also affects summer plans for graduate students. The University does not offer paid teaching assistant positions in the summer, forcing many students to leave the city and find a way to support themselves elsewhere. 

The problems don’t stop once the school year begins. Teaching assistants don’t receive their first check until Oct. 1. 

Graduate students sarcastically call this month “the hunger games.”

As September comes to a close and “the games” finally come to an end, students and faculty reflect on the role graduate students play at UT and the challenges they face. 

In this piece, philosophy graduate student and teaching assistant Emilie Pagano describes her experience working for the University. She breaks down what her pay can and cannot cover in Austin.  

The Faculty Against Inhumane Remuneration discuss their efforts to draw attention to graduate student exploitation, with particular emphasis on the “hunger games” at the beginning of the academic year. 

As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic, or any other, please feel free to reach out to us at thedailytexanforum@gmail.com