To date, over 190 students have taken the Ad Hoc Committee on Tuition Remission’s survey that addresses how not having tuition remission affects them and how an expanded remission policy would greatly benefit them, their professional development, and their time-to-degree.

If you have not yet participated in the survey and wish to do so, there’s still time. It’s fast and you can remain anonymous if you wish!

We will be featuring stories collected from the survey on this site daily and on other digital media as part of an awareness campaign.


This is a sample of students' responses to how paying tuition despite teaching at CUNY affects their scholarship, research, and time to degree. Close to 200 students responded to our survey.
This cap will slow down my progress to degree, as I will have to teach more courses now to cover tuition. The more courses I teach, the more time I am unable to spend on my dissertation.
I haven't hit the cap yet, but I will next year. Because of the extra teaching I've had to take on in order to pay my bills (the $18k/year older EOF really doesn't help much and I need to supplement that income), my scholarship has fallen behind and I'm expecting to take longer than ten semesters. With the cap, I'll have to take on even *more* teaching, which will make me fall behind more, which will mean that I have to teach more, longer, which means that my scholarship... You get the idea.
I came to the Graduate Center in 2010 with a BA from the City College of New York, so I had to amass all graduate-levels credits here. Now, as I begin my dissertation, I have become ineligible for tuition remission. As tuition costs rise each year and the meritocracy model of selective funding becomes more pervasive at the GC, a 10-semester cap will further stratify which later-stage PhD students complete their degrees, and which fall through the cracks (statistically: women, people of color, LGBTQI, working poor, immigrant, differently abled students). At the moment I leap into this huge new dissertation undertaking, financial worries are most certainly having an impact on my focus, professional poise, and ability to travel to conferences to present my research.
Although I completed my coursework within 10 semesters I worked full-time for 7 of those semesters due to not receiving funding from the Graduate Center upon enrollment, and having only one year of fellowship-related tuition remission. Once I could make time to teach, and once I had my dissertation topic approved (past the 10 semester period) I was disqualified from receiving certain CUNY funding for both tuition and dissertation research. This has to some extent stymied my progress on the dissertation. Meanwhile, I continue to take out loans for tuition payment as my job salary goes toward my rent, food, and other financial responsibilities largely unrelated to my Ph.D. work. I have received small amounts of funding for two dissertation research trips, but have paid out-of-pocket for additional trips.
I came to the Graduate Center before funding packages were widely available (I entered the English program in 2009 when, I believe, about half of the incoming cohort had funding) and I paid some tuition my first year because I entered as an out-of-state student. While unfunded, I taught a 2/3 course load in my first year, a 3/4 the following, and a 4/3 the year after that; I picked up summer classes whenever possible, took out student loans, and struggled to make ends meet. After that, I received GC and college-based fellowships that allowed me to teach 1/1 and 2/2 schedules from 2012-present, though I have to say that when the 10 semester cap hit, I felt that I was paying for the non-completion that the conditions of my matriculation at the GC made necessary. I was lucky enough to receive dissertation funding this year that covered the costs of tuition for my seventh and final year at CUNY and I am lucky to be in a partnership with someone who earns a living-NYC-wage, but an extra $2,300/year is - as we all know - teaching an extra course/year worth of expense and I can speak very specifically to the toll that teaching extra courses to meet costs takes on research, conferences, publications, and personal lives: less time of lessened quality for all of it.
am in my 10th semester now and will definitely be struggling to get the money together for the fall. I am considering taking a leave of absence to avoid paying or taking out loans to help pay. Before either of those measures are pursued, I am applying for full-time work that may improve my ability to pay for my life and tuition so I can avoid taking out loans or taking a leave. However, this is not a great solution either as it leaves me with less time to focus on my studies, and less flexibility to attend lectures, meetings and conferences during working hours.
I have been required to work a part-time job (in addition to teaching two classes at a CUNY school) in order to pay my tuition and living expenses. This has given me less time to devote to working on my dissertation and thus drawn out the length of time it will take me to complete my Ph.D.
I feel pressured to be able to pay to survive while also rushing to complete a degree that takes up a majority of my time. I want to grow professionally, not speed through another degree. It defeats the purpose of returning to school to become closer to being an expert in your field.
I am currently over 10 semesters. Although I teach at CUNY colleges, I must pay for my tuition. As I pay for my tuition and support a family of five, I must teach more classes, which means more time devoted to teaching and lesson prep and less time on my dissertation. I now only realistically can work on my dissertation during summers.
I am now through 8 semesters of tuition remission and am getting quite worried about what will happen after next year. My teaching obligation already distracts me from moving forward with my own research and writing and I'm really scared about my future uncertainty and having to hustle to find qualifying work each semester after the fifth year. Because I will need the job to cover my tuition I won't have much flexibility over where I teach or if I teach a subject related to my field.
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