By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
Graduate students wishing to continue work on their thesis past the time for which they’ve registered now are paying almost 10 times the previous fee.
The previous fee-$50 for each continuing semester-was raised after the Graduate Council compared university practices with those of competitive graduate programs, said Kacey Higgins, assistant to acting graduate dean Carol Williams. The new fee is one semester hour of tuition, or about $397 this semester.
Graduate students register for six hours to work on their thesis, which can be completed in one or two semesters. For each semester following, students must be enrolled in thesis and pay a continuation fee until they complete the thesis.
Higgins said she expected to receive some negative feedback because of the size of the increase.
Along with aligning the practice with those at comparable schools, Higgins said the move is designed to encourage students to finish their thesis on time, rather than extending the process for years, a sentiment echoed by Associate Provost Tom Winter.
“When we looked at our policy, what we discovered is the way we’d been doing it hadn’t been consistent with other quality higher education institutions,” Winter said.
He added that the university’s recent financial concerns played no part in the decision.
“The amount of money involved in this is insignificant in the university budget,” Winter said. “This was an academic decision, not a financial decision.”
The fee increase was announced in the 2002-03 catalog, and a letter was sent to graduate students recently, Winter said.
Graduate student Kelly Branch said she hadn’t heard about the increase and said she found it “surprising.”
“To me, it doesn’t seem that they need to raise it,” she said, mentioning that graduate students pay for six hours tuition without taking any classes. Branch said she won’t be affected by the increase; she expects to finish her thesis and graduate in May.
She added, however, that she could understand the reasoning behind the move.
“If I knew I had to pay $400 instead of $50, it would make me want to graduate faster.”