At it's December 12 Meeting, the GSG Assembly voted unanimously to put the following question to a referendum of the student body:
The GSG proposes to set the GSG fee at $15 for the 2013-14 Academic Year and to have the fee increase by the same proportion as the University Fellowship (usually about 3%) in subsequent years. Do you support this proposal?
The GSG By-Laws require the GSG to disseminate relevant information about the referendum. On this page you will find:
Since the Assembly was unanimous in its support of the referendum question, a statement against the question is not available. All members of the Assembly were invited to draft such a statement - for the purpose of fairness - however none was submitted.
The GSG will be hosting a "Meet the Candidates" Forum on Wednesday 20 February at 6pm in McCormick 101. The referendum question will be discussed at this forum, and student will have the opportunity to ask any questions of the Yes Committee or make any relevant comments. Refreshments will be served. We hope you can make it!
At its December 12 meeting, the GSG Assembly unanimously voted to put a referendum question, about the GSG student fee, to the student body.
What is proposed?
The question seeks to make two changes. First, the GSG fee would be increased to $15 for the 2013-14 academic year, from its current level of $10. Second, the fee would automatically increase in subsequent years by the same proportion as the University Fellowship increases for that year (so that the fee does not increase, as a fraction of stipends). In a typical year, this would imply a roughly 3%, or 50 cent, fee increase.
The GSG fee is administered by the Graduate School, and is automatically deducted from stipends for all regularly enrolled students and DCE students who are in residence.
What does it take to change the student fee?
The GSG fee can only be changed by referendum. There are two thresholds that must be satisfied:
What does the GSG spend its money on?
The current $10 student fee generates about $26,400 in revenue for the GSG. More the 90% of this money goes back to students directly. This includes more than $21,500 on social events (including both GSG organized social events and parties and student organization initiated events.) and a further $2,500 on orientation initiatives for incoming students.
Has the GSG fee been increased before?
Yes. In 2006, the student body approved a fee increase from $5 to $10.
In 2010, the GSG proposed to increase the student fee from $10 per year to $10 per semester. The question was approved by more than 60% of students who voted - however not enough students voted to meet the 1/3 threshold.
What is the fee at peer institutions?
The GSG currently has an annual budget of about $26,000, which is mostly funded by the $10 graduate student fee. This makes the student fee and the GSG budget at Princeton the lowest amongst all our peers.
The following information reflects fees at other schools, to the best of our knowledge. (We acknowledge that a comparison between schools isn't always fair - since student governments at some other schools fund certain activities that the Graduate School funds at Princeton.)
Brown - $56 student fee that is indexed to tuition.
Columbia - $30 student fee
Cornell - $81 student fee (about $40 of which goes to their GSG, and the remainder to various facilities, such as athletics, cinema etc)
Harvard - $25 student.
MIT - $280. (The MIT student government has a total budget in the ballpark of $300,000.)
Yale - No fees. Student governments receive roughly $145,000 in funding directly from the Yale Graduate School.
Why increase the fee? How will the GSG use the extra money?
At the basic economic level, the fee increase is necessary to keep pace with inflation and rising costs of goods/services/etc. It has been 7 years since the last fee increase and $10 does not today buy what it did back in 2006. The flat increase is necessary to bring the funding in line with 2013 costs, and the automatic increase is necessary to keep pace with inflation.
On a more practical level, the fee increase is needed to both increase the presence of the GSG for graduate student life in Princeton and help the GSG better fulfill its goal of promoting graduate student wellbeing and welfare. Given our restricted budget, the GSG is limited to hosting four large parties per year (such as the Wine and Cheese event in the Fall, and the Summer barbeque) and a few smaller events (such as this year’s new First Year Welcome Ice Cream Social). With a fee increase bringing Princeton closer to parity with our Ivy League peer institutions, the GSG will expand upon what it currently offers to graduate student life.
The GSG will use the extra money to increase both the scale and frequency of its hosted events. More money means more food and refreshments at parties, paying public safety (as required by the University) to stay longer and keep the party going later, and, of course, more events. It also means that many of the ideas brought up at the GSG monthly assembly meetings, such as funding get-to-know-your-neighbor dinner parties, pub nights, or graduate student spaces in Frist, can be brought to fruition. Finally, an increase in the graduate student fee would increase the contribution toward the GSG Events Board. The Events Board provides funding and assistant to graduate student groups and individuals planning events for the graduate student body, and receives a large portion of its funding directly from the fee. With the currently-limited budget, we are forced toward cutting corners rather than expanding – a practice that benefits no one.
In sum, the fee increase is necessary to keep pace with the normal changes in purchasing power over time, and will help the GSG better provide for the graduate student population.