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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Graduate student union delivers petition to UI president calling for end to student fees

Members rallied on the Pentacrest Tuesday carrying signs and pickets, later marching to Jessup Hall where the president’s office is located.
Kathy Le
COGS members react to a speaker during a COGS Protest on the Pentacrest on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

Over 70 members of the University of Iowa Campaign to Organize Graduate Students, COGS, rolled out a petition on the Pentacrest Tuesday to call for an end to student fees. The petition garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

Graduate students in the biology, dance, engineering, Spanish, and other departments signed the petition.

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COGS rallied to gather support and deliver its petition to UI President Barbara Wilson for its “End the Fees” campaign.

According to the UI Office of Student Financial Aid, resident graduate students pay $12,991 and nonresidents $31,938 in tuition and fees for cost of attendance. The UI notes other additional expenses that would total $22,229 for Iowa residents and $41,176 for out-of-state students.

UI graduate students pay fees in technology, activities, mental health, and student health fees, among others.

Members held handmade signs and organization pickets reading “Ending fees would be the bee’s knees” and “Knock Knock Barb … end the fees.”

As they marched to the president’s office located in Jessup Hall, they chanted “the university works because we do” and “education is a right, not just for the rich and white.”

Cary Stough, a UI graduate student and the speaker at the protest, said the president has two weeks to respond, and if she does not, COGS will continue to place pressure on the university to do so.

Stough said ending fees is part of a larger conglomerate of necessities needed by graduate students.

“Ending fees would help me by not having to pay $380 to the university in fees every semester,” Stough said. “It puts people in a precarious place from the moment they step foot on campus.”

UI graduate student Audrey Messinger said when she first moved into her apartment in Iowa City, she already had several hundreds of dollars in fees to pay to the university alongside her other bills.

“Thankfully I had my family to help out, but it was a lot that I couldn’t afford, particularly because you are required to pay fees before you receive your first-month stipend,” Messinger said.

Messinger said ending fees would help her pay rent and avoid lowering her food budget, something she has had to do quite often.

“I hope the administration responds and that they feel pressured to listen to COGS,” Messinger said.

Amanda Kozar, a UI graduate teaching assistant, said these fees mean she has to put additional expenses on credit cards to make ends meet.

“Many students have to put a down payment on a place to live, pay their first month’s rent, buy groceries, and then on top of that are asked to pay additional fees is crazy,” Kozar said.

Kozar said she hopes the university and the president will better understand the financial obstacles that graduate students are facing.

“I don’t think they realize how much people are going through at the beginning of every semester,” Kozar said.

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About the Contributors
Shreya Reddy
Shreya Reddy, News Reporter
Shreya Reddy is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Coming from a small town in Kansas, Shreya is double majoring in English and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Before coming to the Daily Iowan, she has written for her neighborhood magazine and her schools literary magazine as well as writing an investigative journalism piece.
Kathy Le, Photojournalist
Kathy Le is a fourth-year student at The University of Iowa majoring in 3D design and Art History. This is her first year working as a photojournalist of Daily Iowan.