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President Nellis announces additional support for OHIO graduate students on assistantships, new Presidential Medal awards

Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis announced additional support for OHIO graduate students on assistantships and new Presidential Medal awards earlier this evening. 

These financial investments, which will be effective for the Academic Year 2018-19, will support OHIO’s strategic pathways and priorities in attracting the best and brightest students, as well as recognizing the importance of our graduate students in supporting the mission of our institution.

“I want to thank Maria Modayil, President of Graduate Student Senate, for her leadership in bringing the needs of our graduate students to the table,” said Dr. Nellis. “Providing the additional means of support will keep Ohio University competitive in attracting high-caliber students, and it highlights another successful example of our shared governance structure and its ability to enact meaningful change.”

“I am thrilled with how receptive University leadership, and especially the upper administration, has been in meeting graduate student needs that ultimately makes OHIO a competitive market for graduate students,” said Modayil. “As graduate students, who work hard to enhance the academic and research mission of this university while juggling the program-specific coursework, we are grateful for the investment the University is committing to ease our financial liability. These investments in graduate students speak to the value of constructive conversations, persistence in having continual conversations, and the power of negotiating. President Nellis’ commitment to graduate students during this challenging time with the University’s budget speaks volumes to his vision of this University as truly the most transformative learning environment in the region and nationally!”

New Presidential Medal Awards
Two new graduate student awards will be given out each year during the Graduate-Professional Student Appreciation Week. Both awards will be Presidential Medals – one for a master’s student and one for a doctoral student, each with a one-time award amount of $1000. More information on the criteria and application timeline will be communicated in the fall.

Additional support to graduate students on assistantships will be provided in the following areas:

Subsidizing Student Health Insurance
Support for student health insurance for graduate students on assistantships will change in terms of eligibility, level of support and evaluating plan design:

Support Eligibility
The student health insurance subsidy is currently provided to all graduate students on assistantships at a level of $40/term. Beginning Fall 2018, the insurance subsidy will be provided only to students who purchase the Student Health Insurance Plan. To ensure that graduate students don’t see reduced support because of this transition, we will be increasing the General Fee waiver by $40/term, from $134/term (21.3% of General Fee) to $174/term (27.7% of General Fee).

Level of Support
The University currently provides a $40/term subsidy for student health insurance, which equates to a subsidy of 3.7% of the $2,148 insurance premium. Beginning Fall 2018, the University will begin subsidizing the Student Health Insurance Plan for graduate students on assistantships at a level of $142/term, 13.2% of the $2,148 premium.

Table of Eligibility and Support Changes:

  Support Eligibility Health Insurance Subsidy General Fee Waiver
All Grad Students on Assistantships $40/term $134/term
All Grad Students on Assistantships
Grad Students on Assistantships purchasing University Student Health Insurance Plan $142/term  

University Student Health Insurance Plan Design
Beginning in Fall 2018, Graduate student representatives will join Student Affairs leadership and undergraduate representatives in evaluating our University Student Health Insurance Plan. By adding graduate students to this process, we will ensure that our health insurance plan design meets the objectives of students who utilize the plan.

Minimum Stipends
Minimum stipend levels for graduate students on assistantships of 15 hours/week or more will change for grandfathered exceptions and the minimum hourly rate:

Grandfathered exceptions
There are currently 57 assistantships of 15 hours/week or more with a wage less than the $12/hr minimum hourly rate set by the University, as they were established as grandfathered exceptions. Beginning Fall 2018, the grandfathered exceptions will be eliminated and the $12/hr minimum hourly rate will be enforced consistently for all assistantships of 15 hours/week or more.

Minimum Hourly Rate
The University’s minimum hourly rate for graduate students on assistantships of 15 hours/week or more will increase from $12/hr to $13/hr.

Parental Leave
As announced in February, the University has created a Parental Paid Leave of Absence policy for OHIO graduate students effective Fall 2018.