Since GAU's initial contract in 2009, several issues have prevented your union from representing graduate assistants to the highest standards.
Graduate Assistants are charged upwards of $700 a semester in 'student fees'. Some of these fees include using the technology in our classrooms, office spaces, and labs, as well as undergraduate only services.
In 2019, GAU submitted legislation to erase or significantly reduce fees for graduate assistants in the entire state of Florida. Our parent union, UFF, took charge in this initiative but unfortunately fell short.
Do you want to help eliminate fees for all GAs in Florida? We want your help!
All GAs struggle with minimal stipends and fees, but international GAs also have to pay a portion of tuition.
After accounting for all expenses and minimum stipend, international GAs end up paying $1/hour to work.
GAU has addressed international GA pay repeatedly in bargaining and at Board of Trustee meetings, and we are striving to lift our international GAs out of poverty.
Are you an international GA?
GAU is working to increase the minimum stipend for graduate students. In the last few years, although the minimum stipend for GAs has increased, the increase has been less than that at competing universities.
GAU surveyed faculty on the importance of GA pay and its effect on recruiting and retaining the best Graduate Assistants. The majority of faculty members responded that they felt their department was unable to retain and recruit the most qualified and competitive GAs with current stipends, and that it is very important that FSU increase the pay and benefits for graduate students.
Some comments left by faculty members on the survey:
"Graduate stipends are too low to attract good students. In order to be a competitive research university we have GOT to raise them, immediately and signitficantly [sic]--none of this 10% nonsense. Stipends should be doubled, NOW, and then we could actually recruit good students. Within five years you would see an enormous difference."
"Our graduate students are underpaid and, indeed, they're paid even less than their contract specifies. We cannot recruit the best grad. students when we pay so little. It's horrible when we lose prospective graduate students to much weaker programs who better fund their stipends."
"the [sic] issue with graduate stipends is not the size of the stipend. It is that the departments do not all get sufficient OPS funds to support all qualified students."
"The morale in my department is at an all time low. A lot of this is interpersonal. We struggle to recruit and retain faculty graduate students. I'm concerned about the lack of basic resources (e.g., software, support staff, lab space). Further, a large amount of the service is placed on the shoulders of pre-tenure faculty."
"Even with Athletics running a nearly $4MM deficit we are hiring new coaches with very high salaries. I would like to see more money for faculty salaries and more support for graduate students. [...]"
"Increase the stipend for graduate students."