UI grad students lobby to add student fee for advising services


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While University of Iowa undergraduate students hope for a tuition freeze, their graduate student counterparts hope for a rise in student fees.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Executive Council on Graduate Professional Students, the group discussed a potential raise in fees for graduate students by $20 for the 2013-14 academic year in order to provide additional resources. Some of the resources include a position in the Pomerantz Career Center to assist graduate students in finding jobs outside the academic realm.

“We really want to try to focus on where they might be following their graduate programs,” Graduate College Dean John Keller said.

Graduate students pay mandatory fees to develop various opportunities, depending on their enrollment status. Students with nine semester hours pay $30 per semester, and the provided opportunities range from time-management workshops to certificate programs.

After analyzing doctoral exit surveys and reports, the lack of career placement guidance was brought to the forefront for the college.

If the fee raise is approved, students will pay an additional $20 per semester, bringing in an additional $150,000 every semester. These additional funds would provide a full-time career resource for grad students.

Currently, the Graduate College lacks a resource to help graduate students following graduation from the UI, despite numerous opportunities for undergraduate students in the Pomerantz Center. Students may turn to various professors and faculty members, but Keller believes the faculty aren’t as aware of the job market.

“We’ve learned the faculty aren’t very tuned into job networks,” he said. “They work toward recreating the new faculty of the future.”

While students have opportunities to work as educators following their graduation, not all students aspire to teach, creating a need for the Pomerantz Center position that would serve roughly 5,000 students, Keller said.

The Graduate College presented this increase to the graduate council, which approved it. Following this approval, the increase was presented to the Graduate Student Senate for discussion.

“The graduate students seem to be in favor of it because it will bring resources to the college that they have needed for quite some time,” Executive Council President Michael Appel said.

The next step for this increase takes the shape of state Board of Regents’ approval.

“It’s a no opposition kind of thing,” said Kimberly Hoppe of the UI Graduate Student Senate. ”It seems very needed to have this professional enhancement.”

Not only would these fees paid by graduate students pay for a professional in the career center, the fees would go toward a new graduate-student orientation and the scholarly integrity program, among others.

 “I’m hopeful that this will by approved by the university and forwarded onto the regents for the next academic and fiscal year,” Keller said.

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