Graduate & Professional Student Association

Advocacy

About

Welcome!  The Graduate and Professional Association (GPSA) advocates for students at the university, state and federal level.  Our Vice President of Legislative Affairs (VPLA) and Legislative Committee spearhead efforts to increase political awareness and engagement among students while lobbying administrators and legislators for a more affordable and accessible education experience for all graduate and professional students.

Partners

National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS)

NAGPS is the graduate and professional student voice on a national level.  NAGPS hosts the biannual Legislative Action Days (LAD) summit in Washington D.C. where graduate and professional students from around the country have the opportunity to meet with their federal legislators about priority issues.  GPSA sends delegates to this summit each spring and fall.

Washington Student Association (WSA)

The WSA is a student-led association of public higher education institution in the state of Washington. The GPSA Director of Legislative Affairs is a voting member of the Board of Directors, which meets monthly.

Issues

Federal

Student Loans & Interest Rates

Graduate and Professional students lost access to Direct Subsidized Federal Loans in 2011 (where the federal government pays accruing interest while you remain in school). The estimated cost to students is an additional $18 billion over the next 10 years(1)

Graduate and professional student loans are the safest investment of all student loans with a significantly lower default rate of 6.4% (the overall rate is 18.4%). Though graduate and professional student loans comprise only 13% of all loans, 77% of the federal government’s net profit on student loans comes from graduate and professional student loans.

Reunifying graduate and professional loan interest rates with undergraduate rates would result in thousands of dollars in savings over the life of a 10 year (120 month) loan. The chart below shows total 10 year loan costs at current and projected interest rates for direct unsubsidized federal loans disbursed in 2014-2015(2)

Click here for information on previous year interest rates and other types of loans.

Click here for information on student loan repayment (including a repayment calculator).

 

International Student Visas

International students comprise a significant part (~20%) of the graduate and professional student population.  For this reason, we strongly advocate for the domestic revalidation of F-1 student visas. International students should be able to leave the United States to present research or visit family without the fear that they will not receive another visa to re-enter the U.S. and complete their studies.  We hope that soon members of the U.S. House of Representatives will introduce a bill to make domestic revalidation possible.  You don't have to be a citizen of the United States to call members of congress and ask them to support this bill (we will keep you updated on when it is introduced).

Click here for more information on F-1 student visas.

**If you are having problems renewing your visa?**

If so, contact Senator Patty Murray's office.  They perform casework on many issues, including those related to immigration.  With your permission, they can request information from federal agencies.

State/University

Stipends

The GPSA recognizes high stipend variability across departments at WSU.   The average graduate student stipend does not meet the cost of living in Whitman County. Furthermore, graduate students on assistantship annually pay $1569.48 in fees.  This additional financial burden leaves many students just above the poverty threshold.

Tuition & Fees

At WSU, tuition is variable based on whether or not you have resident or non-resident status. Between 40-50% of students receive an assistantship that comes with a tuition waiver. Professional students (e.g. VetMed, MBA) are rarely eligible for an assistantship/tuition waiver.

See the Graduate School's website for up-to-date tuition costs.

Many students are responsible for paying for a subset of fees out of pocket. The Building fee, and Services and Activities fee, are called "mandatory fees" that all students must pay. The other fees have voted upon and approved by past students. Below is a table of fees for AY 17-18 pulled from the university's budget office.

Pullman Grad 2017-2018 Semester Year
CUB Fee $120 $240
Health Fee $204 $408
Rec Center Fee $154 $314
Transit Fee $32.74 $65.48
Building Fee $167 $334
Services & Activities Fee $274 $548
Total Fees $951.74 $1903.48

Other

Find and Contact the Government

This link will allow you to locate and contact your local legislator or other government agency.