Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grad students stick together for a budget win!

This is our 2010-2011 Purdue Graduate Student Government

I was actually lacking inspiration for any kind of post today until I opened my email and got my billing statement from the Bursar. My student fees went down by $28 per month. This is a big deal for a lot of reasons. It all started about 3 years ago or so when the Purdue Graduate Student Government decided enough was enough on the fee situation. For whatever reason, when we get funding, that funding can cover our tuition and stipend, but not our student fees. Student fees help pay for things like computer labs (which most of us never use), the gym (which you can tell by looking most of us never use), and I don't know what else. The one thing a lot of us use is the City Bus. Our City Bus system is free to all Purdue Students. Pretty awesome right?!?! Well, back to complaining about fees. As it turns out, Purdue was one of the only universities that had this grad student fee business. What made it worse was that these fees were something like $800 and due at the beginning of September. Most grad students who start at the end of August get their first pay check at the end of September. And, that pay check is often only about $1400. Knowing that the fees were over half of most students paychecks and that they didn't even get a pay check until after the payment was due, Purdue worked out a payment plan. To participate in this payment plan, you had to go to the Bursar Office, wait in line forever, talked to a grumpy lady, and fill out a paper form. All of that AND you had to pay interest! It was such a scam.

Move forward to the PGSG. The student government stuck together and got the fees on a reduction plan PLUS an automated payment plan! Starting in 2009, all grad students were automatically enrolled in a monthly payment plan and the fees were reduced by a decent chunk. Everyone was happy about this. I have a feeling that even the grumpy lady in the Bursar Office is not so grumpy anymore! What I didn't expect was for our fees to be reduced again! Maybe I was told that they would be reduced again and I forgot. Seriously good chance. But I'm still very excited to update my budget with $90 a month going to Purdue instead of $118! So not only did I get a raise this year, but I also have reduced fees! Do you think Congress is reading this? Income and less spending equals money in the bank! Wink Wink!

How will I use that $28 a month. I'm not sure where it will go. I was talking with friends yesterday and the hardest area of our budgets is the eating out category. The other category that's tough to stick with for me is gas. I already pumped up the gas budget since I got the raise. I think I'll bump up the dining out budget by $8 which is about one lunch out a month. The other $20 will go towards the emergency/moving fund. More on that another day.

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