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The Daily Tar Heel

Graduate and Professional Student Federation speaks out against tuition increases

The Graduate and Professional Student Federation discussed ways to broadcast their discontentment with impending tuition hikes and University budget cuts at their meeting Tuesday evening.

GPSF President Serena Witzke said she is dissatisfied with the UNC administration’s recent proposal to raise tuition for graduate students.

She said she’d like to see a tuition increase spread out over five years rather than the two-to-four-year plan being proposed by administrators now.

She said most graduate students favor a more spread-out increase.
Witzke encouraged attendees to participate in Student Body President Mary Cooper’s tuition discussions.

“Come to this discussion, so at least we can participate in our demise,” Witzke said.

Christine Hajdin, a chemistry research assistant, said government funding for financial aid programs is decreasing.

In 2011, UNC lost nearly $100 million in funding, forcing the University to cut the budgets of 556 course sections, she said.

Scholarship support totaling $5.5 million was also cut.

“The money that your parents can’t pay and the money that the school can’t pay will transfer into debt,” she said.

The percentage of North Carolina college students who rely on financial aid is 65.6 percent, and 51.7 percent rely on grant money, she said.

“People are spending more on their education than they are on their houses,” Hajdin said.

“People go to college to set up a good future, but what if those students who lose financial aid drop out?”

Hajdin, who is a member of the Association of Student Governments, promoted an ASG program, called Cuts Hurt, as part of the solution.

The goal of Cuts Hurt is to inform students that their voices can be heard, she said.

The program encourages students to speak out to legislators about how budget cuts and tuition increases are negatively affecting them.

Gus Caravalho, a research assistant in the School of Government, presented appropriations of federation funds.

He announced the allocation of funds, such as $1,000 to the North Carolina Law Review to be used for its annual symposium.

The Carolina Association of Pharmacy Students will receive $200 to host a clinical pharmacist practitioner dinner in Carrboro.

However, the federation denied funds to the Student National Medical Association for a project called “Zumba Girls!” The committee unanimously passed these measures.

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