GPSC to help grad students with bursar bills

By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_LukitschDE

The Graduate Professional Student Council has extra money in its budget and will use it to pay bursar bills of graduate students who cannot afford to register for classes because of the new debt limit.

The Bursar’s office announced last semester it would revert to a former policy on registration holds for past-due balances, decreasing the threshold from $1,000 to $200. A motion passed by GPSC on Tuesday night gave the green-light for need-based assistance spending in response to concerns about the policy change.

And they actually have the money to do it, too.


The organization allocated $5,000 of its $70,000 operating budget for a charitable donation fund earlier this year. An additional $1,000 was moved from an event fund, bringing the total fund to $6,000. 

At least half of the charitable donation fund — or $3,000 — will be given to eligible graduate students whose accounts have been put on hold because of an overdue bursar bill, GPSC president Brandon Woudenberg said. Applicants will be reviewed and final approval will come from the organization’s fee-allocation board.

“The ideal candidates are going to be students who need under $200 to bring the hold off of their account to allow registration for the following semester,” Woudenberg said. 

Last month Interim Chancellor William Bradley Colwell announced graduate student assistantships will be renewed for the spring semester, much to the relief of recipients. But students have voiced concerns about a possible drop in retention if the policy is not changed back to what it was before. A student-led petition has received almost 500 supporters since it was launched last month. 

At least 1,000 graduate and professional students have registration holds on their accounts, including students scheduled to graduate at the end of fall, Woudenberg said. Although the state’s fiscal crisis has taken a toll on the university, Woudenberg hopes this fund will help as many students as possible.

“If any student leaves right now, I think it hurts the university as a whole,” he said.

Bill Lukitsch can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bill_LukitschDE .