UNC has more than 8000 graduate students but as members of the University community these students are often overlooked. Some are even struggling to make ends meet. This is unacceptable.
A strong Graduate School is vital to the overall strength of the University. If UNC hopes to remain competitive with its peer institutions in attracting the best and brightest it needs to provide a compelling financial assistance package to graduate students.
To their credit University officials are aware of the problem and working to address it. A number of ideas have already been floated and Roger Perry chairman of the Board of Trustees said the board is looking at ways to increase funding for graduate student support.
Providing full financial support to graduate students in their first year would be a great way to entice prospective students.
Most graduate students are unable to work as teaching assistants in their first year due to credit requirements so this would go a long way toward easing the financial burden on these individuals.
UNC should also consider higher pay for teaching assistants. These students provide a great service to the University by teaching recitations managing lab sessions and working with faculty to improve class quality.
They should be fairly compensated for this work.
Of course this extra money will have to come from somewhere most likely from an increase in undergraduate tuition.
However undergraduate students in particular would benefit if the University recruited more highly qualified students to the Graduate School as the quality of the teaching assistants would undoubtedly improve.
Indeed all aspects of the University would benefit from increased financial support for graduate students.
While UNC already has a lot to offer as a top-tier University financial incentives are a proven way to attract qualified students in an increasingly competitive environment.
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