SGPS secures grad student funding despite revenue cuts

‘Executive thrilled to receive news,’ Society President says

The province announced tuition cuts on Jan. 17.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
Graduate student funding is secure at Queen’s despite sweeping province-wide reforms, an SGPS press release announced Monday.
 
On Jan. 17, the Province announced a 10 per cent cut to tuition, decreasing revenue for universities. For Queen’s, that amounts to $31.4 million. 
 
“The SGPS has been meeting with our University’s administration since the announcement to determine what the effects on graduate students would be,” the release read. “We are happy to announce that Principal Woolf and Provost Harris have ensured the SGPS Executive that these cuts will not affect funding provided to students from the School of Graduate Studies.”
 
The release adds this announcement ensures the University won’t adjust their standard funding through the Queen’s Graduate Award, International Tuition Award, and other graduate student funding packages. 
 
“In a time of budget cuts, this commitment from the University is a clear sign that they are dedicated to graduate success and well-being,” the release said. 
 
In a statement to The Journal, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris reiterated the University’s commitment to graduate students. 
 
“In looking at budget impacts and possible options to mitigate recently announced tuition cuts, the university decided to maintain the same level of funding,” he wrote, adding, the funding would be maintained primarily through the packages named in the release. 
 
Harris also noted that for individual packages, students should be aware of their own unique circumstances when approaching other funding routes.
 
SGPS President Tyler Morrison began conversations with the University only a day after the government’s announcement on Jan. 17. 
 
“From there, conversations continued to happen with different administrators about the effects of the announcement and what this meant for SGPS members,” Morrison wrote in a statement to The Journal. 
 
The initial goal of the Executive was to “find out as much information as possible.” 
 
Morrison commented on the vagueness of the government’s original statement, pushing to understand the impacts the changes have on the Society moving forward. 
 
“The University has made very few promises when it comes to their repose to the provincial governments announcement so for them to make graduate student funding a priority sends a strong message,” Morrison wrote to The Journal. 
 
Despite the news, Morrison believes it’s difficult to know what the future holds in terms of the University’s response to tuition reduction. He added the SGPS will, however, continue its advocacy for graduate students at Queen’s.
 
When asked whether the sentiment of relief is shared among other graduate students, Morrison was cautious to embrace optimism. 
 
“While this is fresh news I have not been able to discuss with many grad students as of yet,” he wrote. “However, I have to believe that knowing certain portions of their funding packages will remain at current levels will give them some piece of mind as we move further into this time of uncertainty. “ 
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