Graduate assistants to receive $2,000 pay raise starting fall 2014

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Graduate assistants will receive a pay raise beginning next fall in order to make Texas State’s program more competitive, officials say.

Graduate teaching, instructional and research assistants being paid through state appropriations and tuition will receive a raise of $2,000 per nine-month period, said Provost Eugene Bourgeois. Those who are paid through grants or student service fees will not receive the raise, but may receive the new minimum established by the $2,000 raises, he said.

“I think on the recruiting end, it will definitely increase our efforts to recruit high quality, high caliber graduate students,” Bourgeois said. “It makes us more competitive.”

Roughly $1.6 million, allocated through Texas State’s rising enrollment numbers and an increase in state appropriations, will be spent on the pay raises.

The extra $2,000 will be a 17.4 percent increase from the existing salaries of graduate teaching assistants, Bourgeois said. Graduate instructional assistants will see a 19.7 percent increase, and research assistants will experience a 20.3 percent pay increase.

Academic Affairs has viewed the pay raises as a funding priority for some time, Bourgeois said, but it was near the bottom of the list until this year. About 800 graduate assistants will receive the pay raise in the fall. Bourgeois said this will make Texas State’s graduate pay comparable to that of other universities.

“I think the first thing that it does is it sends a message to graduate students that Texas State values them,” Bourgeois said. “We highly value them for the work that they do, teaching our students and assisting in classrooms taught by professors and in our research enterprise.”

Members of the President’s Cabinet approved the pay increase this year to help with recruiting graduate students, Bourgeois said.

Michael Hennessy, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said graduate pay has been a problem that has grown gradually over the past five years. There have been concerns that graduate assistants are not able to live comfortably on their current salaries, he said.

“I think (the raises) were overdue and the university is doing a great job,” Hennessy said. “This was the right thing to do from a practical point of view as well as a point of social justice.”

Bourgeois said he and President Denise Trauth meet with representatives from each academic department on a three-year cycle. The two repeatedly were told of the need for higher graduate assistant pay, which is how the issue was brought to their attention, Bourgeois said.

“I have to say that over this cycle when we visited the departments and schools almost, every single meeting has led to a request for addressing graduate assistant compensation,” Bourgeois said. “(Trauth) and I have frequently commented that we’re floored when we first heard it and that it kept being repeated in every subsequent meeting.”

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