The Graduate Students of Canada Collective is a movement of graduate students across Canada concerned about government and university responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two months, graduate students have been faced with mounting socio-economic precarity as a direct result of the pandemic, while feeling increasingly left out of institutional and governmental efforts to provide relief. We urgently call on the government to implement comprehensive and effective measures to support the wellbeing and economic security of all graduate students across Canada.
Graduate students have lost access to Research Assistantships, Fellowships, current and future academic jobs due to funding and hiring freezes resulting from COVID-19. Further, presenting work at academic conferences, publishing papers, teaching, and other experience necessary to pursuing academic careers is far less accessible with the pandemic. We are being urged to find impossibly creative ways to build skills and demonstrate our worth, while concomitantly scrambling to pay for food and shelter. The CESB of $1,250/month is inadequate to support us in these endeavours.
Overall, graduate tuition fees across the country were either unchanged or increased over the past year. This increase ranges from 1% to 10%. International graduate students’ fees were up by 4.4%, with yearly tuition costs averaging at $17,744. This means that the average cost for international graduate students’ summer tuition is around $5,900. This is a very significant expense when the regular sources of income these students rely on are unavailable, when they have little to no savings to fall back on, and when they do not have access to student loans and excluded from the broader range of funding opportunities available to domestic students, as well as the emergency funding offered by the government.
Organize and defend grad students by sharing and signing the federal petition here: http://chng.it/hZGCh5yR4z