This graph says it all.
(And then some.)
We sincerely thank our neighbor universities for providing data over the past 8 months to help us generate this graph!
Please add a comment to the spreadsheet with any updated/corrected data, so we can present the most accurate information possible.
This graph will be continually updated as we receive more data.
All data used in the calculations for this graph are here.
Calculations assume: full-time employment and student statuses, 9 credit hours per semester, averaged college-specific fees, 6 total semesters of school, and the minimum pay as set by the university.
State, federal, and international taxes are not included, and should be subtracted as appropriate for each graduate employee.
* "Waived" fees also includes employee benefits, subsidies, reimbursements, relief payments, etc.
** School Fees includes the Student Health Insurance Plan premium, but does not include tuition, parking fees, or dental insurance
GA = Graduate Assistant, stipend employee who grades, prepares labs, develops exams, and similar but not a TA/TF/RA etc.
SE = Student Employee, common at all campuses but only shown once here, paid @ $15/hr (MA minimum wage)
+ Indicates positions that include summer employment (included if commonly available at that campus)
It may be difficult to imagine surviving as a UMass Dartmouth Graduate Assistant (GA) on less than 10% of the livable wage:
It looks like 5 students living in a 2-bedroom apartment. It's students sleeping in rat-infested or bedbug-infested rooms. It's students sleeping in the attics and basements of campus buildings. It looks like constantly brushing uncut hair out of our eyes, washing our clothes in the sink, and waiting for buses in the freezing cold. Some students are eating 1 meal a day -- and it's a package of uncooked noodles. It's students disappearing for months, and they cannot be contacted because they can't afford internet, or a phone. Or rent. Or food.
Such destitution feels like this (trigger warning: severe depression language).
We want our dignity back.
We are not asking for much. We need a safe place to sleep, and healthy food to eat. Yes, we knowingly chose to be graduate students and invest in our degree. We are also employees for the university, doing work that pays a wage but delays progress toward our degree.
But when those wages are so low that students need a second job, we cannot be students anymore.
The UMassD graduate student experience has gotten worse every single year: school fees continue to increase; pay is not even adjusted for yearly inflation; and employee workloads have expanded way beyond contract hours.
We have had enough.
UMass Dartmouth graduate students are intelligent and productive. We are learning how to design proteins that will prevent pandemics, to create safe and sustainable energies that will protect our oceans and rescue our planet, to defend and promote social justice, to improve patient outcomes with better healthcare practices, to ethically sustain businesses and maximize corporate value, and so much more. We want to be strong assets for the university by obtaining grants and publishing our work, which increases the income and reputation of UMass Dartmouth.
This should be a win-win relationship.