Hefty university fees are sending some grad students to food banks

August 13, 2019 | Science Magazine

To help offset declines in state funding, many U.S. public universities are billing their graduate students for thousands of dollars of university fees. The charges, many of them new or recently increased, frequently come as a shock to master’s and Ph.D. students in science, technology, engineering, and math fields who expect their years of training to be financially feasible because they do not pay tuition and receive modest stipends for their research and teaching work.

At Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, for example, grad students are charged $4900 per year in student fees—a sum that has more than doubled in 5 years. “We are not here to be rich,” but grad students who work for the university expect to be able to make ends meet, says Luis Santiago-Rosario, a biology Ph.D. student at LSU who—like many in his situation—wasn’t aware of the fees until he started his program.

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