University of Wisconsin Teaching Assistants Association is opposing a new policy put forth by the university’s Bursar Office that would require graduate students to pay their segregated fees before the semester began — and before their first paycheck.

Previously, graduate students had until the end of the semester — a time in which they had the opportunity to accumulate three paychecks — to pay their segregated fees per semester of $630 plus $100 for international student fees. According to the new plan, students who are unable to pay this fee before the semester can pay a $50 fee to enroll in a three-installment payment plan.

This would place a burden on graduate students, especially these fees which are at least 10.4 percent of the typical non-dissertator graduate workers’ income, according to the TAA website.

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Another concern brought forth by TAA is the fact that they were not involved in the decision making of this policy, TAA member Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila said.

Santiago-Ávila said graduate students are essential to the UW community in both teaching and research, and the people making these policies should realize that.

To us, this flies in the face of the principles of shared governance which have defined the University of Wisconsin-Madison,” Santiago-Ávila said.

However, no plans have yet been finalized for this policy and the university is currently working with TAA leaders regarding their concerns, UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said in an email to The Badger Herald.

UW acknowledges teaching assistants are “vital” to the university and recently announced a 13.3 percent pay increase for next year, McGlone said.

“The change is the result of a need to align campus policy for graduate assistant payment of student segregated fees with broader UW System policies,” McGlone said.

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McGlone said the university does not want to put unnecessary financial strain on its graduate students.

However, the group is still concerned with the financial difficulties this policy will place on those leaders in the UW academic community, Santiago-Ávila said.

TAA is holding a protest Thursday morning in an attempt to combat these fees. During this event, the group will walk to different administrators offices in Bascom Hall to share stories of financial hardship this policy will bring.

“We’ve long known that the segregated fee bill for graduate students is among the highest of our peer institutions, but this is the first time we are hearing en masse from graduate students about how this burden affects their day-to-day lives,” Santiago-Ávila said.


Update 12:16 p.m.: This article has been updated to include information from UW communications.