Well, that moment we've all been anxiously awaiting has finally arrived: the MARCH Center fee is due for *all (see below) graduate students. This has been a long time coming, but alas, we are now officially responsible to pay our required $139 MARCH membership fee for the fall 2008 term. In due respects, Allison Fryer, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, would like to remind all graduate students that $500 of our stipend increase this year was instated specifically to offset the MARCH fee, with the other $500 being our pay raise. That said, there is no guarantee that they will be so kind the next time they vote on our stipend amounts -- if they vote not to raise our stipends beyond $500 next year due to the $1000 raise granted this year, then that would effectively leave us with the entirety of the MARCH fee since graduate stipends usually increase at least $500 each year. But take note that the Incidental Fee Task Force last year (which included Erik LeShane and myself, among others) proposed an "opt-out" option that we felt was the desire of the student body, but this was rejected by the University. Our second proposed did not have an opt-out clause but called for a reduction in the yearly bill from $672 to $556. This proposal was accepted, showing that students can have some bargaining power with the University.
Regardless, make sure that you pay your bill to avoid penalties. You can pay this fee online via ISIS. And don't forget to pay this every time you register for a new academic term.
*The west campus students should be exempt from this fee since they are at an enormous disadvantage for MARCH Center use. That said, the only West Campus students currently guaranteed exemption are OGI students. The Graduate Council and Provost Office are aware of this inconsistency and have pledged to address the issue. If an adjustment cannot be made before the November 10th deadline, you should still pay the bill and, according to the conversation at the Graduate Council meeting yesterday, you'll be reimbursed...
Not necessarily bright news for all of you, but important news nonetheless.