EL PASO, Texas – Unionized graduate student workers at New Mexico State University, gathered at Hadley Hall Thursday to fight for tuition relief.
“As a Teaching assistant at NMSU, I instruct about 50 undergraduate students every semester. I love my work, but at the end of the day, I pay literally all of my income back to the university in tuition, fees, and rent,” says Ana Van Balen, a Languages and Linguistics Teaching Assistant. Balen says that she is finding it hard to pay for basic living expenses with what is left over from her paycheck after tuition and fees.
Other aids, faculty, and research leaders from the institution have called for the school to cover tuition costs in the past for student workers. Bryan Stemock, an Astronomy Graduate Research Assistant, says that the university has about $8.5 million in unrestricted instruction and general funds and $2.5 million in unspent student aid.
“Graduate workers are facing a crisis, NMSU can afford to act now to cover $2.7 million in tuition for graduate employees for the fall 2022 while we work together at the bargaining table to find long-term solutions.” Says Stemock.
NMSU is looking to start formal negotiations with the union in July.