Davis Faculty Association

Tuition for non-resident graduate students

by Ian Kennedy

Non-resident graduate students are currently required by the University of California to pay significant tuition charges, in excess of the fees that are paid by resident graduate students. US citizens and permanent residents can become residents of the state of California following one year of residency. However, foreign nationals cannot follow this route to Californian residency. The non-resident fees are reduced by 75 percent following advancement of the student to candidacy for the Ph.D., usually following successful completion of their qualifying exam. Students then have three years to complete their degree, but if this time limit is exceeded the non-resident tuition once again increases to the full amount.

In order to support non-resident students, the Davis campus instituted a policy wherein research grants that employ students as a graduate student researcher must pay the full non-resident tuition. This has created a situation where the cost to grants employing non-resident students has become excessive, to the point where it may be more attractive to employ a postdoctoral researcher, as has been noticed in Washington. House Republicans are investigating the use of federal funds through grants to pay non-resident tuition, a practice that leads, in the estimation of the Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, to foreign students receiving more in total compensation than many post-doctoral scholars. The University of California Davis rates a special mention because the Committee used our Graduate Studies web site as a source of information.

Non-resident fees also wreak havoc with language departments that recruit native-speakers as graduate students and TAs. These departments have to use most of their block grants on huge out-of-state fees for students who cannot claim residency. The education of graduate students, both US citizens and foreign nationals, is an important mission of the University of California. The demise of the graduate program due to the imposition on non-resident fees on grants is a serious issue for the faculty

The imposition on non-resident fees arose during budget negotiations between the State Legislature and the University. It is apparent that the Legislature does not understand the important role of foreign graduate students, or graduate education in general, in the University’s mission. Nor does it appreciate the economic contribution of graduates who remain, or the political benefit of those introduced to our culture.

The Academic Senate of the University is not at liberty to lobby the Legislature in this regard. However the Davis Faculty Association, in conjunction with the Council of the University of California Faculty Associations, is free to undertake political lobbying activities. The DFA believes this is an important issue for many faculty members, and one which must be taken up with the legislators. It is not productive to complain within the University – we need to indicate to the Legislature the importance of training foreign students, many of whom remain in the United States and in California in particular, and who form the basis of the next-generation of faculty for the University and entrepreneurs in start-ups and high tech businesses and industries. This issue is a high priority for the Association. The DFA will work with CUCFA to educate legislators about the importance of graduate education and the role of non-resident students. To contact the DFA, email myrna@ucdfa.org.

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 16th, 2005 at 9:11 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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