Grad student: how to survive?
As a grad student, I help keep exorbitant undergrad tuition costs from going even higher by providing dirt-cheap teaching labor to my university. In exchange, they waive my "tuition," which is basically imaginary money that administrators shuffle between accounts. And by the way, after a few years of classes, that "tuition" charge still applies--even for the 3-4 years of grad school when I'm conducting independent research without taking classes, and TAing for less than the market value of my labor to earn my stipend. For 2/3 of my time in grad school, my university is providing me with precious little instruction beyond what I can learn by myself in a library. If I had to pay tuition on around $30k of imaginary tuition fees out of a $20k/year stipend, I and others like me would have to quit grad school. And then the university system would lose much of its cheap teaching and grading labor pool, and have to hire real employees from a shrinking pool of writer trained academics. And undergrad education would cost more.
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